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Padmanabha Pillai Vs. University of Kerala and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1982(II)KLT203
AppellantPadmanabha Pillai
RespondentUniversity of Kerala and ors.
Excerpt:
- - this was to enable persons like the petitioner and the 4th respondent to acquire the diploma in english which was considered to be a certificate of their 'improvement' in english......a higher capacity. he worked in such capacity because he was ordered to do so. to have refused to work as a lecturer would have amounted to disobedience of lawful orders of his superior. legitimately he expected to be paid for the work which he rendered, and legtimately he never expected that he would one day be asked to repay the amounts received to be subsequently called upon to repay, what on: received bona fide for the work rendered bona fide is not only unjust and unfair, but unwarranted by any provision of the law. whether or not anyone else is liable to reimburse the excess amount paid by the government is a different question, and i express no view on it. all that i say is that, if at all anyone is liable, it is certainly not the petitioner. in the circumstances i quash ext. p4......
Judgment:

Kochu Thommen, J.

1. The petitioner and the 4th respondent are members of the teaching staff of Sree Sankara College, Kalady. They were both Junior Lecturers. They both had obtained M.A. Degree in English, but with III Class. That class was sufficient to be appointed as Junior Lecturers. However, the minimum qualification for promotion as Lecturers was a II Class. A temporary exemption was given to them by the competent authority of the University by its order dated 31-6-1974 for a period of three years. This was to enable persons like the petitioner and the 4th respondent to acquire the diploma in English which was considered to be a certificate of their 'improvement' in English. Neither the petitioner nor the 4th respondent acquired the diploma within the stipulated time. The 4th respondent was admittedly senior to the petitioner as Junior Lecturer. However, by Ext. P2 Dated 12-1-1976 the Vice-Chancellor acting as a delegate of the Syndicate in terms of Section 23(xix) of the Kerala University Act made the following order :

The Vice-Chancellor has approved the promotion of Shri K.G. Padmanabha Pillai (the petitioner), Junior Lecturer in English as Lecturer in the Sree Sankara College, Kalady with effect from 6-11-1975.

This approval, I am told, was made on the basis of the promotion granted to the petitioner by the Manager. By Ext. P3 dated May 25, 1978 the Deputy Registrar of the University, on the basis of the resolution of the Syndicate adopted at its meeting held on 18-4-1978, ordered that the approval granted for the petitioner's promotion as Lecturer in English with effect from 6-11- 975 be cancelled and that the petitioner's promotion be approved with effect from 26-2-1977. The same order says that the 4th respondent was not entitled to approval retrospectively. I am told that it is from 26-2-1977 that the 4th respondent's promotion as Lecturer also has been approved. The position, therefore, is that the petitioner and the 4th respondent are working as Lecturers with effect from 26-2-1977, But in view of the 4th respondent's relative seniority, he is now treated as senior to the petitioner in the category of Lecturers.

2. In view of the fact that neither the petitioner nor the 4th respondent had obtained the requisite qualification until they were permanently exempted by the order of competent authority of the University with effect from 26-2-1977, I do not see any substance in the contention that the approval granted to the petitioner by Ext. P2 with effect from 6-11-1975 was not liable to be cancelled. The approval was given by mistake, although the mistake was not in any manner prompted by any act or omission on the part of the petitioner. Nevertheless in the absence of the requisite qualification the petitioner could not legitimately claim approval with effect from any date anterior to 26-2-1977 when the permanent exemption was granted. The question. however, is whether Ext. P4 (No. 84-3958/78) dated 2-6-1978 which is a consequential order made by the Deputy Director of Collegiate Education is sustainable in so far as the petitioner is concerned. This order says:

As per the reference cited the University has issued orders cancelling the promotion of Sri K.G. Padmanabha Pillai from 6-11-75 to 25-2-77. Therefore, the excess amount already drawn and disbursed to him may be refunded and chalan forwarded to this office for information with the statement of recovery.

The petitioner is now asked to repay the amount drawn by him as a Lecturer. He was appointed by the Manager as a Lecturer and the appointment was approved by the competent authority of the University, al beit on the basis of a mistake for which the petitioner was in no manner responsible. There is no allegation that the petitioner had supplied the wrong information to the Manager or to the University and thus misled either of them. If by a genuine mistake of the competent authority a promotion was offered to the petitioner with the necessary approval, and if he consequently acted in the higher cadre and was paid for the work rendered by him in such capacity, to call upon him to repay all the excess amount this received by him merely because a mistake had been committed by someone other than himself is to punish him for someone else's mistake. The petitioner is entitled to be paid for the work which he did during the relevant period in a higher capacity. He worked in such capacity because he was ordered to do so. To have refused to work as a Lecturer would have amounted to disobedience of lawful orders of his superior. Legitimately he expected to be paid for the work which he rendered, and legtimately he never expected that he would one day be asked to repay the amounts received To be subsequently called upon to repay, what on: received bona fide for the work rendered bona fide is not only unjust and unfair, but unwarranted by any provision of the law. Whether or not anyone else is liable to reimburse the excess amount paid by the Government is a different question, and I express no view on it. All that I say is that, if at all anyone is liable, it is certainly not the petitioner. In the circumstances I quash Ext. P4. The O.P. is allowed in the above terms. No costs.


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