Know your increment prospectus – Fight genuinely for pay hike

In the instant case – KEB Vs Srinivas, Mr.Srinivas a Junior Assistant/Typist, Karnataka Electricity Board [Now Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited], is denied his advance increment by The Secretary, Karnataka Electricity Board.

Mr.Srinivas joined the services of the K.E.B. as a Junior Assistant in its O & M Division, Hubli, in the year 1977. As per the Order dtd.5/9/1975 the K.E.B. had accorded sanction to grant four advance increments to the employees on securing additional/higher qualifications as detailed in the Annexure to the said Order without prejudice to their normal increments. As per the Annexure to the said order, a junior Assistant/Typist is entitled four advance increments if he acquired Degree in Commerce or Arts or Science of a recognized University. Later as per the Order dated 23/10/1977, the K.E.B. directed that a Junior Assistant/Typist will be entitled to only two advance increments on his acquisition of a Degree in Commerce or Arts or Science of a recognised University. The said Mr.Srinivas passed B.A Music final examination held on May 1979.Thereupon he gave representation dated 10/10/1991 along with Annexure to the Superintending Engineer, C & M Circle, K.E.B. Hubli, bringing to his notice that he had passed BA-Music Part III Examination conducted by the Karnataka University, Dharwad, in the month of May 1979 and requesting to sanction advance increments to him. Along with representation he enclosed
(i)Special Certificate issued by the Karnataka University, Dharwad
(ii)Certificate of Marks and
(iii) Degree passing Certificate issued by the Karnataka University, Dharwad the representation was forwarded by the Superintending Engineer to the Chief Engineer,K.E.B. along with a letter dated 26/109/1991. in the letter it is stated that as per the Order dated 25/10/1977 of the K.E.B., sanction of advance increment is permissible to Junior Assistants who have passed a Degree in Commerce or Arts or Science and that the Bachelor of Music is not included among the qualifications, on the acquisition of which, advance increment could be granted.

The Superintending Engineer also requested the Chief Engineer to pursue the matter with the Karnataka Electricity Board for considering whether Bachelor of Music also is a Degree equal to Science, Arts and Commerce for granting advance increments. The Superintending Engineer also observed that the request of said Junior Assistant/Typist appeared to be genuine.

However The Secretary, Karnataka Electricity Board, informed the Chief Engineer that as per the existing provisions, the said employee was not entitled for advance increments for acquiring a degree in Bachelor of Music.

Aggrieved by the denial of the advance increments, the said employee filed a Writ Petition praying for quashing of the said letter dated 27/12/1991 of the Secretary, Karnataka Electricity Board and also for a direction to the Chief Engineer to consider the present case for grant of additional increments as he has obtained a degree from a recognized university.

In the Writ, the K.E.B. filed a Statement of Objections opposing the prayers in the Writ Petition. In Para 3 of the statement of objection it was stated as follows:

It is respectfully submitted that the said employee has not obtained degree in Commerce/Arts/Science, but he has obtained a Bachelor Degree in Music. The University has issued the Certificate to the said employee a Bachelor Degree in Music and not a Bachelor Degree in Arts. Therefore he cannot take any advantage of the said Degree so as to take the benefit under the Circular.
After considering the rival contentions of the parties the learned single judge held that a Degree in Music is a Degree in Arts and therefore, the petitioner is entitled to the advance increments. Accordingly, the Writ Petition was allowed declaring that the Degree in Music which the petitioner has secured is a Degree in Arts and directing the K.E.B. to consider the application of the petitioner for payment of two additional increments from the date of his acquiring the additional qualification, namely, Degree in Arts(Music) and pay the same within three months from the date of the judgement.

Aggrieved by the Order of the learned single judge, the K.E.B. filed Writ Appeal

This is a Division Bench decision delivered by Hon’ble C.J. Cyriac Joseph and Justice K.L.Manjunath :
In the Writ Appeal the Hon’ble High Court felt that the only question that arises for consideration is whether the higher/additional qualification acquired by the above employee is a Degree in Commerce or Arts or Science. According to the employee the qualification acquired by him is a Degree in Arts. According to the K.E.B. it is not a Degree in Arts but only a Degree in Music.
The said employee had produced a Certificate dated 26/9/1991 issued by the Karnataka University, Dharwad which read as follows:
Sri/Smt.Joshi Shrinivas Venkatesh passed the B.Music Part III which is a final year of the three years degree course Examination held by the Karnataka University in the month of May, 1979 and was placed in the First Class.

The employee had placed before the Court the original of a Special Certificate dated 26/9/1991 issued by the Karnataka University,Dharwad which read thus:
This is to certify that Sri/Smt.Joshi Srinivas Venkatesh has passed the B.Music Part III Examination- the final examination held at the end of the three year Degree course held by the Karnataka University, in the month of May 1979 with Regd.(Seat) No.004 and was placed in First Class.
He/She is eligible for conferment of the B.Music Degree at the next Convocation of this University.

The original of the Marks list dated 26/9/1991 issued by the Karnataka University,Dharwad shows that he has studied and passed English and Kannada as basic, Sitar(Theory and Practical) as major and Vocal(Practical) as minor.

The Learned Advocate for the K.E.B. also made available to the Court the printed syllabus of the Karnataka University,Dharwad, for the Third Year of the 3 year B.A. Degree Course(Revised) B.A. PART III Examination (with effect from the academic year 1975-76 and onwards). The said syllabus shows the subjects for studying in the third year of the three year B.A.Degree course(Revised). Out of 33 optional subjects, Sl.No.23 is Music and S.No.25 is Fine Arts. Therefore the Division Bench held, it is obvious that a student who under goes and passes III Year B.A. Degree Course with Music as Optional subject is entitled to B.A.Degree.

B.A.Degree means a Degree in Bachelor of Arts, Consequently, the said employee who is entitled to the conferment of a Bachelor Degree in Music is entitled to be treated as a person entitled to a Degree in Arts. Therefore the learned single judge was right in holding that the said employee is entitled to advance increments as per the Order.

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