Gurpal Tuli & Ors, Vs. State of
Punjab & Ors  INSC 187 (28 September 1984)
MISRA, R.B. (J)
CITATION: 1984 AIR 1901 1985 SCR (1) 882 1984
SCC Supl. 716 1984 SCALE (2)557
Constitution of India 1950-Article 14-equal pay
for equal work'- Principle-Applicability of-State Government circular
stipulating different grades of pay-Entitlement to a grade when arises, Civil
Services: Punjab Education Service-State Government circular different grades
of pay for different categories-Entitlement to a grade when arises.
The appellants who were employed as Masters
and Mistresses in High and Higher Secondary Schools run by the State Government
and possessed an M.A. or M.Sc. or B.T. or B.Ed. degree contended in their writ petitions
that they were paid according to the pay scale of Rs. 220-500 and claimed that
they were entitled to either of the higher grades set forth in paragraph 2 of
the State Government Circular Letter dated July 29, 1967 viz. Rs.
300-25-450/25- 600 for those with 1st and 2nd Division Master's Degree and Rs.
250-25-450/25-250 for those with 3rd Class Master's Degree. The High Court
negatived their contentions and dismissed the writ petition, and this was
affirmed by the Division Bench in appeal.
Dismissing the Appeal to this Court,
HELD: 1. The grades specified in paragraph 2
of the Circular Letter dated July, 29, 1967 are applicable only to those who
specifically hold the posts of lecturer. There are a limited number of such
posts, and appointment to them is strictly subject to the conditions detailed
in paragraph 2 of the Circular Letter. The contention on behalf of the
appellants that on the principle of "equal pay for equal
work"-Randhir Singh v. Union of India and Ors.,  3 SCR 298 they are
entitled to the grades mentioned in para 2 of the Circular Letter dated July
29, 1967 has therefore to be negatived. [888 D; C]
2. The appellants claim the benefit of
paragraph 2 of the Circular Letter dated July 29, 1967 and therefore no
reliance can be placed by them on the Circular Letters dated February, 19, 1979
and September, 20, 1979 which relate merely (o the scheme embodied in the
Circular Letter 883 dated July 23, 1957. The Circular Letter dated July, 29,
1967 operates on a very different plane from the Circular Letter dated July 23,
1957. [888 B; 885 E] 3. The decision of this Court in State of Punjab v. Kirpal
Singh Bhatia,  1 SCR 529 is of no assistance to the appellants. That was
a case which was primarily concerned with Circular Letter dated July, 23, [885
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
Nos. 3452-54 and 4030-32 of 1982.
Appeals by Special leave from the Judgment
and order dated the 20th November, 1979 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in
L.P.A. Nos. 26,62, 29, 38,39, and 30 of 1978.
R.K. Garg and N.S. Das Bahl for the
Appellants in CAs. Nos 3452-54 of 1982.
M.K. Ramamurthi, and Mrs. Urmila Sirur for
the Appellants in CAs. 4031/82 and CAs. 4030-32 of 1982.
P.P. Rao and D.D. Sharma for the Respondents.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
PATHAK, J. The appellants, in these appeals by special leave, are aggrieved by
the judgment of a Division Bench of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana
affirming the dismissal of their writ petitions by a learned Single Judge of
The appellants are teachers in the service of
the State of Punjab. They claim the grades prescribed in paragraph 2 of the
Government Circular letter No. 2036-ED. 1-67/2167 dated July 29, 1967, and in
that regard seek the benefit of the Circular letter No. 9/9179-FR (2)/143 dated
February 19, 1979 and its clarification by Circular letter No. 8937-5ED.
1179/2659 dated September 20, 1979.
The Circular letter dated July 29, 1967 gave
effect to the recommendations of the Kothari Commission with effect from
November 1, 1966 in respect of teachers in Government Schools. Paragraph 2 of
the Circular letter provided:- "2. Lectures in Higher Secondary Schools,
Punjab Institute of English and Masters/Mistresses with Post- 884 graduate
qualifications in High/Higher Secondary Schools will be placed in Rs.
300-25-450/25-600 grade provided they have 1st and 2nd Division Master's
Degree. Those with 3rd Class Master's Degree will be placed in the grade of Rs.
250-25-400/25-550." It was specified that "the number of posts in
Lecturer's grade will be 1517 i.e. 742 posts for the existing school Lecturers
and 829 additional posts for other Masters/Mistresses with Post-graduate
qualifications." It was clarified that "the Masters/Mistresses will
be eligible to Lecturer's grade only if they have Post-graduate qualifications
in the subject of their teaching. No one will be entitled to those 829
additional posts automatically.
These posts will be allocated to various
subjects keeping in view the requirements of the educational institutions and
the appointments will be made keeping in view the rules/instructions as amended
from time to time." Paragraph 3 stated that "all trained graduates
and all other Masters with Post-graduate qualifications, who are not fitted in
the scale of Lecturer, will be in the scale of Rs. 220-8-300-10-
400/20-500." It is apparent that paragraph 2 of the Circular letter dated
July 29, 1967 is concerned essentially with providing for a Lecturer's Grade:
(1) It was intended to have 1571 posts in the
Lecturer's grade, consisting of 742 posts for the existing Lecturers and
another 829 posts for Masters or Mistresses. Masters or Mistresses were
eligible for these posts in the Lecturer's grade only if they possessed
Post-graduate qualifications in the subject of their teaching.
Those who did not satisfy that criterion were
not eligible for those posts. Moreover, no one was entitled to any of the 829
additional posts automatically. The additional posts were to be distributed
with reference to different subjects, and the distribution would be made having
regard to the requirements of the educational institutions and subject to the
rules and instructions currently in force.
(2) Existing Lecturers and Masters or
Mistresses with Post graduate qualifications, who possessed a Master's degree
in the first or second division, would be-entitled to the grade of Rs. 300-25-
450/25-600. Lecturers and 885 Masters or Mistresses with Post-graduate
qualifications who possessed a Master's degrees in the third division would be
entitled to the grade of Rs. 250-25-400/25-550 .
The appellants say that they are employed as
Masters and Mistresses in High and Higher Secondary Schools run by the Punjab
Government and possess an M.A. or M.Sc. or B.T. or B.Ed. degree and some of
them have even acquired a M.Ed. degree. They are presently paid according to
the pay scale Rs. 220-500. They claim that they are entitled to either of the
higher grades set forth in paragraph 2 of the Circular letter dated July 29,
1967. From what has gone before it is clear that they can legitimately claim
the benefit of those grades only if they are appointed to the posts of
And they do not dispute that they are not
incumbents of those posts.
Much reliance has been placed on the decision
of this Court in State of Punjab v. Kirpal Singh Bhatia. In our opinion, that
case is of no assistance to the appellants.
That was a case which was primarily concerned
with Circular letter No. 5058 FR-II-57/5600 dated July 23, 1957.
The Circular letter dated July 29, 1967
operates on a very different plane from the Circular letter dated July 23,
1957. A brief reference to the historical background of the Circular letter
dated July 23, 1957 will suffice.
Concerned at the low salaries granted to
certain categories of Government servants, the Punjab Government issued
Circular letter No. 5058 FR-II/5600 dated July 23, 1957 revising their scales
of pay. Paragraph 3 classified all teachers in the Education Department
according to their qualifications in two broad categories, category A being:-
"B.A./B.Sc./B.Com./B.Sc. (Agriculture) and B.T./Diploma in Physical
Education/Diploma in Senior Basic Training". and they would now carry the
scale of pay:- 886 "Rs. 100 -8-190-10-250 with a higher start for M.A. or
M.Sc. as at present." As is evident, the category was defined by reference
to the possession of the specified graduate degree or Diploma.
In the event such a teacher also held a
Post-graduate degree he was entitled to a higher start in the grade. The grade,
however, remained the same.
It appears that several teacher tiled writ
petitions in the High Court claiming revised scales of pay on the ground that
they had taken graduate degrees and, therefore, were entitled to the benefit of
the grade mentioned against Category in the Circular letter dated July 23,
1957. In opposition to the writ petitions, the State Government contended that
the letter did not contemplate tho grant of the grade to all teachers but only
to teachers appointed as Masters. The High Court held the teachers entitled to
the benefit of the revised grade, whether or not they had been appointed as
masters, because, in the opinion of the High Court, the qualifying criterion
was the possession of a graduate degree. The judgment of the High Court was affirmed
by this Court in Kirpal Singh Bhatia (Suprd). The State Government found it
difficult, having regard to The prevailing burden on its financial resources,
to extend the benefit of the Circular letter dated July 23, 1957 to the much
wider section of teachers covered in consequence of the Court's judgment.
Accordingly, the State Government issued Circular letter No. 9/9/79-FR (2)/143
dated February 19, 1979, paragraph 3 of which stated that in order to ensure
that "these unintended and large financial implications do not continue
arising in future" the whole matter had been reconsidered by the State
Government and as a result the government ordered that henceforth the teachers
or the Education Department would not automatically be entitled to placement in
the higher scales of pay in terms of paragraph 3 of the Circular letter dated
July 23, 1957 by the mere circumstance of their improving or acquiring higher
qualifications in the course of their service. The rigout of the restriction
was relaxed in some measure. Paragraph 3 said further:- "However, in order
to avoid discrimination between teachers who have already been allowed higher
scales of pay on account of having improved their qualifications and those who
have not yet been allowed this benefit even though they also possess higher
qualifications it is decided that all teachers in the Education Department who
have 887 improved their qualifications before the issue of this letter may be
allowed the benefit of higher scale of on the basis of their qualifications."
The benefit was not extended to those who were appointed or who had improved
their qualifications after the issue of that Circular letter. The teachers
continued to agitate for a more generous dispensation. The State Government
then issued Circular letter. No. 8937- 5ED.1179/2659 dated September 20, 1979.
"The implementation of the decision
contained in Finance Department Circular letter No. 9/9/79 FR (2)/143 dated
February 19, 1979 to grant higher pay scales to the teachers on the basis of
higher qualifications was kept pending for want of clarification on certain
points from the Finance Department which has now become available and is
1. The higher scale may be allocated from the
date of passing the respective higher examination by the concerned teacher
where this has already been done. However, actual payment at enhanced rates
should commence from 12 2.79 and the payment of arrears accruing from the date
of passing the examination till 13.2.1979 be restricted to the maximum for 38
2. The benefit of the higher scale may be
allowed from the date a particular teacher is appointed on regular basis or the
date of passing the higher examination, whichever is later, but the payment of
arrears as a result of grant of such benefit should be restricted to a period
of 38 months only, as already mentioned above.
3. The teachers placed in the higher scale
can only be regularly adjusted when corresponding posts in the higher scale
become available; in that case such teachers may continue to enjoy the higher
scale as a personal measure till they are adjusted against regular posts as and
when the same become available." It was clarified that the contemplated
benefit was confined to 888 the categories of teachers mentioned in the
Circular letter No. 5058 FR II-57/5600 dated July 23, 1957.
The appellants claim the benefit of paragraph
2 of the Circular letter dated July 29, 1967, and therefore no reliance can be
placed by them on the Circular letters dated February 19, 1979 and September
20, 1979, which relate merely to the scheme embodied in the Circular letter
dated July 23, 1957.
The appellants contend that on the principle
of "equal pay for equal work", affirmed by this Court in Randhir
Singh v. Union of India & Ors. they are entitled to the grades mentioned in
paragraph 2 of the Circular letter dated July 29, 1967. It is urged that like
those Masters or Mistresses who have been given that benefit they have acquired
Post- graduate qualifications and are doing the same kind of work.
As has been explained earlier, the grades
specified in paragraph 2 of the Circular letter dated July 29, 1967 are
applicable only to those who specifically hold the posts of Lecturer. There are
a limited number of such posts, and appointment to them is strictly subject to
the conditions detailed in paragraph 2 of the Circular letter.
In the result the appeals fail and are
dismissed, but in the circumstances of the case there is no order as to costs.
N.V.K. Appeals dismissed.