Union of All India Radio& Ors Vs. Union of India & Anr  INSC 123 (5 April 1990)
Rangnath Misra Rangnath Sawant, P.B. Ramaswamy, K.
1990 AIR 1720 1990 SCR (2) 340 1990 SCC (3) 596 JT 1990 (2) 49 1990 SCALE
of India--Article 32--A. 1. R. --Staff
Artists--Continuation of contractual employment--Justifica- tion for.
Artists of All India Radio/Doordarshan, after complying with the initial
requirements, used to be appoint- ed to various positions like Announcer, News
Readers, Con- ductor, Music Compere, Instrumentalists, Producer and Script
Writer etc., on contract basis upto the age of 55 years. In May 1982, Union of
India bifurcated the Staff Artists into two categories like (i) Staff Artists
to be treated as artists and (ii) Staff Artists to be treated as Government
Servants. These two sets of writ petitions have been filed by the Staff artists
challenging the said Government deci- sion conveyed through circular dated
3.5.1982 and calling upon the staff to exercise option by the end of December,
1983 for final allocation to the two categories aforesaid.
first writ petition direction is sought to the re- spondents to treat the Staff
Artists at par with regular government servants and to restrain the respondents
from enforcing their direction in regard to their exercise of option and in the
other writ petition, the petitioners have asked for a direction to treat the
staff artists as govern- ment servants entitled to pensionary benefits.
Court by its order dated 25.4.1988, on perusal of the letter together with the
scheme, Sent by the Director General of All India Radio and following its
earlier deci- sion in Civil Appeal No 384 of 1977 Union of India v. M.A. Chowdhary,
A.I.R. 1987 S.C. 1526 declared that all the staff artists of All India Radio
are holding civil posts under the Government, and they are governed by Article
311(2) of the Constitution and accordingly inter alia directed the Govern- ment
of India to review the entire situation and to prepare a fresh scheme in
accordance with law having regard to the nature of duties performed by each
category of staff artists and further directed the case to come up for
directions on 5.9.1988. Thereafter the Government of India formulated a scheme
in compliance with the courts order and submitted it to the Court.
Disposing of the writ petitions with directions, this Court,
While dealing with the Artists as a class it is necessary that their special
status be borne in mind. It is a class of people who are indeed specially
privileged either by natural gift or by their own culturing of the art. This
category of people cannot be equated with ordinary Govern- ment servants for
every purpose. [348F] The All India Radio and the Doordarshan in their normal
functioning would to a considerable extent depend upon qualitative and
efficient artists in order to make their programmes reach the desired level.
[348G] The age-old practice of the job of the staff artists being contractual
(whether short or long) is being given up and contractual employment is being
substituted by status based Government service. If there are really efficient
Artists of different classifications who do not want to be branded as
Government servants, there is no immediate justi- fication for discontinuing
and disturbing them in toto.
349A] Administrative scrutiny instead of judicial determina- tion would be more
helpful. The Court therefore directed that in the appropriate Ministry a High
Power Committee be set up for examination of the objections with reference to
the terms of the scheme and the final decision be taken by the Government
within six months. The views expressed in the present decision be taken into
account while dealing with the objections for purpose of finalising the scheme.
JURISDICTION: Writ Petition No. 13636/83 & 11760-66/84.
Article 32 of the Constitution of India).
A.K. Ganguli, M.K. Ramamurthy, Kapil Sibal, R.K. Garg, S. Srinivasan, D.K. Garg,
Ms. A. Subha- shini, B. Parthasarthi, C.V. Subba Rao, M.A. Krishnamurthy, V. Shekhar,
H.S. Mann, Ms. Chandan Krishnamurthy and Ms. Kamini Jaiswal for the appearing
Judgment of the Court was delivered by RANGANATH MISRA, J. These are applications
under Article 32 of the Constitution. Petitioner No. 1 in the first Writ
Petition is the 341 National Union of All India Radio Staff Artists; petitioner No.
2 is an Announcer of the All India Radio and happens to be the General
Secretary of the Union; petitioners No. 3 to 8 are an
instrumentalist, a few news readers, announcers and the like. The petitioners
in the other writ petitions are seven in number consisting of six announcers
and a tanpura player connected with the All India Radio. According to the
petitioners, the prevailing practice in All India Radio used to be to offer
appointments to various people as Staff Artists at the first instance
ordinarily for an initial term of three months and on completion of appropriate
formalities appointments used to be offered for a term of three years on
contract basis at a minimum monthly fee. After the expiry of the initial period
of two years out of the three years period of working which was considered as a
period of proba- tion contractual engagement up to the age of 55 years was
being made available. On selection, as alleged by the peti- tioners Staff
Artists used to be appointed to various posi- tions like Announcer, News
Readers, Conductor, Music Com- pere, Instrumentalists, Producer and Script
Writer in the All India Radio or Producer, Production Assistant, Script Writer,
Translator and General Assistant in Doordarshan.
May, 1982 the respondent Union of India bifurcated the Staff Artists into two
Staff Artists to be treated as artists; and
Staff Artists to be treated as Government Servants.
decision was conveyed in a letter dated 3.5.82 and opportunity to exercise
option to everyone by the end of December, 1983 for final allocation to the two
categories was provided. The letter stipulated that those of the Staff Artists
who did not opt were to continue under the existing terms and conditions. The
first writ petition was filed on 12th December, 1983, challenging the Government's order
of 3.5.82 (Annexure 3) and for a direction to the respondents to treat the
Staff Artists at par with regular Government servants and to restrain the
respondents from enforcing their direction for exercise of option.
other group of writ petitions was filed on 19th of March, 1984, the challenge
therein was also to the same Government letter, and petitioners asked for a
direction to the respondents to treat the Staff Artists as Government servants
entitled to pensionary benefits.
return was made to the rule in the first writ petition by filing an 342
affidavit by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The
respondents maintained that the Staff Artists did not form one homogeneous
group and job require- ments of the Staff Artists were different from post to
suggested that the Staff Artists could be convenient- ly divided into two
groups, namely, those who are appearing or performing before the micro-phone
and the others who are managing production and connected jobs. It was also
pointed out that all Staff Artists did not have the same terms as to
remuneration. It was suggested that the terms and conditions governing the
Staff Artists after their transformation into Government servants became
different. In the interests of quality of broadcasting services, it was
claimed, periodical assessments became indispensable and inevitable. The affida-
vit further stated that the scheme which was enclosed to the letter marked
Annexure 3 contained a scheme which had been evolved after due deliberations
and there was no prejudice to the Artists if the scheme was allowed to become
On the 25th of April, 1988, with special reference to the
first writ petition and a connected civil appeal which is not before us at this
stage, the Director-General of All India Radio sent the following communication
to the respond- ent's lawyer with a request that the same may be placed before
the Court. The letter stated:
the directions of Hon'ble
Court, the Government
have further examined the aspects of the scheme for artist cate- gory to
safeguard the rights of the Staff Artists from any arbitrary factors in respect
of discharge of duties under their contract of service renewable after
satisfactory performance of their services. After careful examination, the
Government have now set-up three types of committees to protect the rights of
the staff artist from any arbitrary factors which are as under:
Since the renewal of contract is automatic if the records are satisfactory, it
would be best to leave it to the Sta- tion Director or the Head of the Office
concerned to review the contract after verification of the records.
case, the records are not satisfactory, the question of renewal of contract may
be considered by a Review Commit- tee/Representation Committee as under:
Review Committee (Both for AIR/Doordarshan) 343 (i) Station Director--Chairman
(ii) Two outside Assessors--Members who have expertise in the field to which
the Artists belong.
Representation Committee (Both for AIR/Doordarshan) (i) Director
General--Chairman Addl. Director General (Programme) (ii) Deputy
Director--Member General (Administration) (iii) Representatives of--Member the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
to request that a Government Counsel may please be briefed accordingly to place
the facts before the Honourable Court in the hearing today, i.e., dated 25th
April, 88 at 2 P.M." On the basis of what transpired in Court after
referring to the said letter, this Court on that date made the following order:
Civil Appeal No. 384 of 1977 Union of India v. M.A. Chowdhary, AIR 1987 Supreme
Court 1526 we have declared that all the Staff Artists of All India Radio are
holding civil posts under the Government and they are governed by Article
311(2) of the Constitution of India.
view of the above decision it is no longer necessary to make any further
declaration in these petitions that the Staff Artists are Government servants.
The Circular dated 3rd May 1982 beating No. 45011/26/80/B(A) issued by the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India proceeded on the
assumption that the Staff Artists who had entered the service of the All India
Radio/Doordarshan under the contracts were not Government servants and that
only those Staff Artists specifically mentioned in that Circular could become
and be treated as Government 344 Servants provided they satisfied the
conditions mentioned therein. In view of the decision referred to above it has
now become necessary for the Government to review the entire question covered
by the Circular dated 3rd
May, 1982. We,
therefore, direct the Government of India to review the entire situation and to
prepare a fresh scheme in accordance with law having regard to the nature of
duties performed by each category of Staff Artists. While preparing such a
scheme the Government may also keep in view the cases of Staff Artists who have
already exercised their option as provided by the circular dated 3rd May, 1982. Such scheme shall be prepared on
or before 31.7.1988. After the scheme is prepared a copy of it shall be made
available to all the parties to this case. The parties aggrieved may file objec-
tions before this Court within August 15, 1988.
case shall come up for directions on 5th September, 1988." In terms of the direction
given on the 25th of
April, 1988, a draft
scheme framed by the Government has been produced before the Court along with
an accompanying affidavit.
2 of the said scheme states:
pursuance of the above mentioned orders, those Staff Artists who opted for
becoming 'Government Servants' and were found fit by duly constituted Screening
Committee were treated as Government Servants with effect from 6.3. 1982.
Staff Artists were made entitled to the same pensionary benefits as are applicable
to Government Servants. They were, however, not entitled to any special
benefits avail- able to them as Staff Artists. Likewise, Staff Artists in the
'Artists' category. who opted for being treated as 'Artists' and come over to
the new terms and conditions were treated as 'Artists' with effect from
6.3.1982." Paragraph 3 provides:
following categories of Staff Artists/Artists in All India Radio/Doordarshan
are, however, still to be treated as Government Servants:
Staff Artists who opted for 'being declared as 'Government Servants' but were
not found fit by the Screen- ing Committee;
Staff Artists who opted for being treated as 'Artists' category and were
declared as 'Artists' after screening by the Screening Committee';
Artists who opted for being treated as 'Artists' but were not found fit by the
Screening Committee for being treated as 'Artists' and (iv) Staff Artists who
did not opt for being treat- ed as 'Government Servants' or for being treated
as 'Art- ists'.
scheme further indicates:
The Government has reconsidered the entire Scheme in the light of the judgment
of the Hon'ble Supreme Court delivered on 25.4.1988 in Writ Petitions Nos.
13636 of 1983 and 11760-66 of 1984 in National Union of All India Radio and
Others .v. Union of India. In partial modification of this Ministry's letter
No. 45001/26/80-B(A) dated 3.5.1982 and No. 45011/26/80-B(A) dated 26.8.1983,
it has been decided as under:-- (i) All Staff Artists/Artists working in All
India Radio and Doordarshan (except foreign nationals) will be deemed as
Government Servants holding civil posts on pre- scribed Central Government
scales of pay.
All such Staff Artists/Artists working in All India Radio and Doordarshan will
be entitled to pensionary and other benefits on the same terms and conditions
as are applicable to other Government Servants holding civil posts.
will be governed by all rules and regulations and general instructions issued
by Government from time to time like FR and SR, GFR, CCS (CCA) Rules, CCS
(Conduct) Rules and Pension Rules etc. etc. All facilities/ benefits avail-
able to regular Central Government employees will be auto- matically applicable
to them also on the same terms and conditions as are applicable to regular
Central Government servants. However, any special bene- 346 fit/concession
available to such Staff Artists/Artists of AIR and Doordarshan, in so far these
are not in accordance with rules and regulations and general instructions applica-
ble to Central Government servants, will be withdrawn from the date of issue of
The date of retirement on superannuation in respect of such Staff
Artists/Artists of All India Radio and Doordarshan deemed as Government
Servants will be the same as applicable to holders of civil posts in Central
The contribution of such Staff Artists/Art- ists working in AIR and Doordarshan
made to Contributory Provident Fund (CPF) along with interest thereon will be
transferred to their General Provident Fund (GPF)." "5. The Staff
Artists/Artists working in AIR and Doordarshan deemed as Government Servants
will continue to be in their existing categories and grades with regular pay
scales. The future recruitment to each grade will be made according to the
Recruitment Rules as per procedures prescribed for recruitment to different
posts." "6. The posts held by the Staff Artists/Artists working in
All India Radio and Doordarshan will stand converted into civil posts from the
date of issue of these orders." The order made by this Court on 25th of
April, 1988, was not a final judgment and this Court had directed the Union of
India to review the entire situation and to prepare a fresh scheme in
accordance with law having regard to the nature of duties performed by each of
the categories of Staff Artists.
the intention of the Court while making the order dated 25th April, 1988, was
to have the scheme placed before the Court for consideration. Though the scheme
has been styled as a draft scheme, its contents indicate that it has been
implemented. The main objection of the petitioners against the present scheme
is the stipulation therein that the Staff Artists will be taken as Government
servants from the date of the order. According to them, the Allahabad High
Court had in its decision dated 12th of July, 1974, given a declaration that
all the Staff Artists were Government servants and the said decision was
affirmed by this Court in a judgment dated May 7, 1987, reported in 1987 3 SCR
424 Union of 347 India v. M.A. Chowdhary. It is the contention of the peti- tioners
that the benefit of conversion or declaration should be effective from
12.7.1974 and those who were in employment then as Staff Artists should be
considered as Government from this date and others who joined after 12.7.74
should be conferred the status of Government servants from the date of joining.
There is also a claim by the petitioners to pension for those who have retired
after 12.7.1974 and prior to the present scheme. It is the further contention
of the peti- tioners that while formulating the present scheme the Court's
direction of 25th of April, 1988, has not been strictly kept in view. Reliance
has been placed on this Court's order dated 3rd April, 1984, where it was
indicated that failure of Staff Artists to exercise the option should not
prejudice their right in any manner and either a fresh opportunity to exercise
the option should be given or even in the absence of option the same benefits
should be given.
of the objections which have been raised and are no- ticed above seem to be
germane and require consideration.
Court's order of 25th April, 1988, requiring a fresh scheme to be formulated
obviously meant that the exercise of option in terms of the order dated 3rd May,
1982, was not taken to be the final date for exercise of option. Opportu- nity
to exercise fresh option should have been given or perhaps the new scheme could
have accepted the position that unless one wanted to be not absorbed he should
have been deemed to be accepting absorption. As in the changed setting the
class of Staff Artists was really intended to be done away with in due course,
such a deeming base should have been accepted for convenient implementation.
class of Staff Artists engaged under contracts wants such status to continue.
Otherwise stated, they do not want the contractual base to be changed into
dealing with the Artists as a class it is neces- sary that their special status
be borne in mind. It is a class of people who are indeed specially privileged
either by natural gift or by their own culturing of the art. This category of
people cannot be equated with ordinary Govern- ment servants for every purpose.
The All India Radio and the Doordarshan in their normal functioning would to a
consider- able extent depend upon qualitative and efficient artists in order to
make their programmes reach the desired level. The scheme necessarily
contemplates a transitional period. The age-old practice of the job of the
Staff Artists being contractual (whether short or long) is being given up and
contractual employment is being substituted by status-based Government service.
If there are really efficient Artists of different 348 classifications who do
not want to be branded as Government servants, there is no immediate
justification for discontin- uing and disturbing them in toto. The transitional
period could be elongated to accommodate the appropriate category of Artists
not willing to be absorbed as Government serv- ants.
Government themselves are having a re-look at the matter. It is their
stipulation that All India Radio and Doordarshan should be made into autonomous
corporations and for that purpose legislation is in the process. What is in
contemplation is contrary to what is in the scheme. This means that the matter
is still in a fluid stage. It is, therefore, appropriate that either a deeming
position should have been accepted in the scheme as indicated above or a fresh
opportunity for exercise of option should have been provided. Again, the demand
of the above group of artists should have also been considered.
question of deeming the employees as Government servants from the date of the
Allahabad High Court's judg- ment is another issue which requires examination.
Connected with it would be the question of entitlement to pension. We are of
the view that these are aspects which should first be initially examined by a
Committee to be set up by the Gov- ernment and after a definite view is taken
it would be open to the petitioners to approach the appropriate Court to
redress the remaining grievances, if any. The matter is such that
administrative scrutiny instead of judicial determina- tion would be more
helpful. We, therefore, refrain from expressing any final view. We reiterate
that the order dated 25th of April, 1988, intended a draft scheme to be drawn
up for consideration of the Court. The scheme as produced in the Court along
with the accompanying affidavit has also been described as a draft scheme. The
objections raised by the petitioners to the said scheme are available on the
record. We direct that in the appropriate Ministry a High Power Committee be
set up for examination of the objections with reference to the terms of the
scheme and the final decision be taken by the Government within six months. The
views expressed in the present decision be taken into ac- count while dealing
with the objections for purposes of finalising the scheme. Liberty is given to
the aggrieved parties when final decision is taken by Government to move the
writ petitions are disposed of with these directions.
Petition disposed of.