1. The main controversy in this petition pertains to the validity of different pay-scales for the posts known as Malaria Technicians in the Public Health Department under the State of Maharashtra. It is not in dispute that from the beginning there were two pay-scales for such technicians. Pay-scales of Rs. 125-245 was meant for graduate technicians, while the technicians having S.S.C. qualifications were in the pay-scale of Rs. 100-170. the pay-scales prescribed periodical increments whereby pay gradually increased from the lowest figure. Efficiency bar was also fixed at a certain level. However, these details are not relevant and hence we are not making reference to them. Similarly, such details about rates of increments etc. of the subsequent revised pay-scales are not referred to. We would be referring to the pay-scales by only giving the minimum and maximum pay in the scales. The petitioner who is S.S.C., was appointed as the Malaria Technician under order dated January 21, 1966 (arm. A). It seems that thereafter the question of revision of pay-scales was referred to the Commission headed by Badkas. After the receipt of the report of this Pay Commission, the Government passed a resolution dated January 15, 1969, revising the pay-scales of various Government servants. Annexure-C to the petition is the relevant part of that Government resolution, showing that the Malaria Technicians carrying pay-scale of 125-245 would get Rs. 130-300. Thus, this Government resolution did not make a specific provision as regards the Malaria Technicians who were originally in the pay-scale of Rs. 100-170. The matter was considered by the Government and by resolution dated September 18, 1969 (ann.-F), it was provided that the Malaria Technicians carrying on the pay-scale of 125-245 would be getting the pay-scale of Rs. 130-300. It was provided that the science graduate would get a starting pay at Rs. 150. As regards the lower pay-scales of Rs, 100-170, it was raised to Rs. 115-215. There was a subsequent amendment dated January 21, 1970 so far as the higher pay scale of 130-300 was concerned, raising the pay-scale to Rs. 150-325, vide ann.-G. Thereafter the Government issued clarification (ann.-1) dated March 7, 1970, stating that the revised pay-scale of Rs. 150-325 would be applicable to science graduate technicians, while the pay-scale of Rs. 115-215 would be available to the S.S.C. technicians, A further clarification (ann.-J) was issued in July 1970, under which (i) B.Sc. (ii) Inter Science passed and (iii) Inter-science failed were grouped together as falling in the pay scale of Rs. 150-325. The other group of S.S.C. technicians remained on its pay-scale of 115-215.
2. The contention of the petitioner is that the formation of different pay-scales as mentioned above is illegal and unconstitutional. According to him, the discrimination so made is violative of equality. It was also alleged that the educational qualifications could not be a good criteria for creating two scales of pay, particularly when the technicians falling under both the categories are required to perform similar types of duties. With these allegations, the petitioner has claimed that the Government resolutions revising the pay-scales in such discriminating manner should be quashed. He also prayed that the Government should be ordered to fix his pay in the scale of Rs. 150-325.
3. The respondents resisted this claim of the petitioner. They have filed their return on January 26, 1971 and additional return on October 2, 1978 was also filed. In substance, the contention of the respondents is that though the duties of all the Malaria Technicians are similar, still those technicians having knowledge of science would be better. It was alleged that they had to guide and instruct the other technicians and also to keep a watch on their work. In the additional return, it was pleaded that those technicians who have studied science subjects, have experience of using microscope and consequently their quality of work is better than the S.S.C. technicians. It may be noted that one of the duties of the technicians is to use the microscope for testing with a view to find out as to whether there are any Malaria germs in the sample in question. The respondents, therefore, pleaded that creation of pay-scales on the basis of educational qualifications would be quite legal and valid and it cannot be attacked on the ground of violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
4. Mr. Manohar for the petitioner submitted that the impugned classification would be bad, as, according to him, there is no nexus between the educational qualifications and the duties to be performed by the technicians. He argued that the S.S.C. technicians as also the technicians falling under the other category are performing the same duties. According to him, the additional knowledge in science subjects has no relevance, particularly when all the technicians immediately after the recruitment are required to undergo the requisite training. Another contention of Mr. Manohar is that if the educational qualification is treated as a valid ground for classification, even then there would not be any such difference in the education between the person who is S.S.C. and who is inter-science failed.
5. Mr. Salve for the respondents contended that the above submission of Mr. Manohar would not be legally tenable. He argued that classification on the basis of educational qualification is quite good. He further submitted that a person who is mere S.S.C. would stand on a different footing from a person who has undergone two years' college education even though he might have failed in inter-science examination. Mr. Manohar relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Mohd. Shujat Ali v. Union of India : (1976)IILLJ115SC . It was a case where the question of promotion was dependent upon the fact as to whether a particular person (who was a supervisor) was a graduate or not a graduate. According to the rules, both were eligible for promotion. Even a non-graduate was fit to be promoted. But the supervisors had a higher quota of vacancies and it was challenged. Mr. Manohar relied upon the following observations (p. 1655);.To permit discrimination based on educational attainments not obligated by the nature of the duties of the higher post is to stifle the social thrust of the equality clause. A rule of promotion which, while conceding that non-graduate Supervisors are also fit to be promoted as Assistant Engineers, reserves a higher quota of vacancies for promotion for graduate Supervisors as against non-graduate Supervisors, would clearly be calculated to destroy the guarantee of equal opportunity.
However, it is material to note that the Supreme Court, in that case, approved the said rule inasmuch as right from the beginning, there were two classes of graduate and non-graduate supervisors and they were not fused into one class at any time.
6. The most appropriate and relevant case governing the present controversy is reported in the State of Mysore v. P. Narasinga Rao : (1968)IILLJ120SC . In that case there were two grades of tracers - one for matriculate tracer having a higher pay-scale and the other for non-matriculate tracer with a lower pay-scale. This difference in pay-scales was challenged as violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. We would like to quote the following observations from that judgment (p. 351)..It was contended for the respondent that all the tracers who were allotted to the new State of Mysore were persons who were turning out the same kind of work and discharging the same kind of duty and there was no rational basis for making two classes of tracers, one consisting of those who had passed the S.S.L.C. examination and the other consisting of those who had not. In our opinion there is no justification for the argument put forward in favour of the respondent.
The Supreme Court has considered the argument that the question as to whether a tracer is S.S.L.C. or not, has no direct nexus with the duties which the tracer is required to perform. This argument was repelled by the Supreme Court in the following words (p. 352):.The provisions of Article 14 or Article 16 do not exclude the laying down of selective tests, nor do they preclude the Government from laying down qualifications for the post in question. Such qualifications need not be only technical but they can also be general qualifications relating to the suitability of the candidate for public service as such. It is therefore not right to say that in the appointment to the post of tracer the Government ought to have taken into account only the technical proficiency of the candidates in the particular craft. It is open to the Government to consider also the general educational attainments of the candidates and to give preference to candidates who have better educational qualifications besides technical proficiency of a tracer....
In our opinion, therefore, higher educational qualifications such as success in the S.S.L.C. examination are relevant considerations for fixing a higher pay scale for tracers who have passed the S.S.L.C. examination and the classification of two grades of tracers in the new Mysore State, one for matriculate tracers with a higher pay scale and the other for non-matriculate tracers with a lower pay scale is not violative of Articles 14 or 16 of the Constitution.
It was contended by Mr. Manohar that the return of the respondents does not specifically state that the classification is made on account of the better equipment by reason of educational qualifications. It is true that in the return the main contention was that the laboratory technicians having knowledge of science have to guide, instruct and keep watch on the work of other laboratory technicians. However, in paragraph 13 there is a specific denial that the educational qualification could not be a criterion for creating two classes of pay-scales. Apart from that, the additional return filed by the respondents has made the position clear. It is alleged therein that Inter Science failed students were bracketed with inter-science passed and the graduates as the experience of the heads of the department is that there would be a difference in quality of work as compared with the S.S.C. technicians. It was also alleged that it is on the basis of this experience that the Government has made discrimination between the two types of candidates and hence difference between the two pay-scales. In view of the principle enunciated by the Supreme Court in State a] Mysore v. P. Narasinga Rao we find it very difficult to accept the contention of the petitioner that the impugned classification is bad in law.
7. It should also be noted that the reasonableness or otherwise of the classification made by the Government cannot be scaled in a golden balance. This aspect is considered in State of J, & K. v. T.N. Khosa : (1974)ILLJ121SC . The relevant observations are as follows (p. 11):
Judicial scrutiny can therefore extend only to the consideration whether the classification rests on a reasonable basis and whether it bears nexus with the object in view. It cannot extend to embarking upon a nice or mathematical evaluation of the basis of classification, for were such an inquiry permissible it would be open to the courts to substitute their own judgment for that of the legislature or the rule-making authority on the need to classify or the desirability of achievir,' a particular object.
In view of the above discussion, Mr. Salve is right when he contends that the fixation of two different pay-scales, for S.S.C. technicians and the other for the B.Sc. (including inter science passed and inter-science failed) technicians is quite good.
8. There is one more aspect which may also be referred to incidentally. In the present case, there were no doubt two pay-scales based on different educational qualifications. This difference in pay-scales, however, is basically on account of the educational qualifications, but once a person enters the service as a Malaria Technician, his future prospects of promotion are not at all differentiated as all the technicians whether belonging to the S.S.C. group or the other group, have only one classification for further promotion.
9. We may also make a mention of the fact that recently there was another Pay Commission known as Bhole Pay Commission. We were told that on the basis of the report of that Pay Commission, the Government has now fixed the common pay-scale to both these categories. Hence in effect the petitioner would be getting the higher pay-scale. The grievance would, therefore, only be that he should be given arrears of difference in the pay by holding that the two pay-scales for the same post is bad. However, in view of the above discussion, this contention is not acceptable.
10. The result is that the petition is liable to be dismissed. The rule is discharged. No orders as to costs.