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K. Ramachandran Nair and ors. Vs. State of Kerala and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1979)ILLJ56Ker
AppellantK. Ramachandran Nair and ors.
RespondentState of Kerala and ors.
Excerpt:
.....by the u. i fail to see how any of the provisions of the ordinance can be regarded as violative of article 31 of the constitution. the governor is perfectly competent by virtue of entry 32 in list ii and entry 25 in list iii of the 7th schedule to the constitution to promulgate the ordinance. i am not satisfied that no guideline is provided in the ordinance for the exercise of statutory power by the concerned officers. the policy of the law is clearly declared in the preamble which says; and whereas the legislative assembly of the state of kerala is not in session and the governor of kerala is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for her to take immediate action'.the purpose for which the power can be exercised by the officers is well specified under the relevant..........ordinance, 1978 (ordinance no. 12 of 1978) promulgated by the governor of kerala to amend the kerala university act, 1974, and the calicut university act, 1975. section 3 of the ordinance has inserted sub-sections (9a) and (9b) of section 7 and section (80a) in the kerala university act. likewise section 4 of the ordinance has inserted sub-section (9a) and (9b) of section 7 and section 79a in the calicut university act. by these amendments it is specifically provided that the work in connection with an examination conducted by the university is part of the official duty of a teacher, on a member of the non-teaching staff, of an affiliated college, or an officer, teacher or other employee of the university.3. shri c.k. sivasankara panicker appearing for some of the petitioners.....
Judgment:

Kochu Thommen, J.

1. The learned Additional Advocate General takes notice for the respondents.

2. The petitioners are teachers of colleges affiliated to the Universities of Kerala and Calicut. They challenge the validity of the University Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 1978 (Ordinance No. 12 of 1978) promulgated by the Governor of Kerala to amend the Kerala University Act, 1974, and the Calicut University Act, 1975. Section 3 of the Ordinance has inserted Sub-sections (9A) and (9B) of Section 7 and Section (80A) in the Kerala University Act. Likewise Section 4 of the Ordinance has inserted Sub-section (9A) and (9B) of Section 7 and Section 79A in the Calicut University Act. By these amendments it is specifically provided that the work in connection with an examination conducted by the University is part of the official duty of a teacher, on a member of the non-teaching staff, of an affiliated college, or an officer, teacher or other employee of the University.

3. Shri C.K. Sivasankara Panicker appearing for some of the petitioners contends that the Governor exceeded the power vested in her under Article 213 of the Constitution. Counsel submits that in so far as no instructions from the President had been received by the Governor before the Ordinance was promulgated, she exceeded her constitutional power. Counsel relies upon the proviso to Article 213(1) of the Constitution. Counsel then points out that the Ordinance has eroded certain rights vested in the teachers by virtue of the agreements entered into between the Educational Agencies and the Government whereunder the Government have undertaken the responsibility of payment of salary to the teachers. It is also pointed out that the Ordinance is expropriatory in character and violative of Article 31 of the Constitution in so far as it was not reserved for the consideration of the President and has not received his assent as required under Clause (3) of that Article. These arguments are supported by Shri M. M. Cherian, who appears for the other petitioners. Shri Cherian further submits that the constitutionally guaranteed liberty of the citizen is taken away without proper authority of law. According to him, the provisions imposing penalty upon the teacher deprives him of his constitutional liberty. Shri Cherian also submits that Article 14 of the Constitution is violated in so far as no guideline is provided for the exercise of the power vested in the officers under the Ordinance.

4. Shri Panicker referred to the general background of the current agitation by the teachers for the implementation of the recommendation of the University Grants Commission (U.G.C.) regarding pay-scales. It is submitted that, with the exception of Kerala and one or two other States, the teachers elsewhere in India are paid in accordance with the revised pay-scales recommended by the U.G.C. Shri Panicker has referred me specially to Clause (xi) of Appendix II of 'Conditions for introduction of the revised pay scales' as recommended by the U.G.C. This clause reads as follows:

No teacher/Principal shall be paid any remuneration for examination work, including invigilation work, within the University/Institution.

This clause shows that, according to the U.G.C, examination work is a part of the official duty of a teacher and he shall not be entitled to any special remuneration for the same. This is one of a number of conditions recommended by the U.G.C. for implementation of the revised pay-scales.

5. Shri Panicker submits that the above recommendations of the U.G.C. are 'regulations' made under the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, and have the status of a law made by Parliament which Parliament is competent to enact and which overrides any conflicting State legislation. It is contended that the Ordinance which is related to entry 25 in the concurrent list in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution conflicts with the above mentioned recommendation of the U.G.C. and to that extent the Ordinance is invalid. With great respect to counsel, this argument, in my view, has no substance whatever. The recommendations of the U.G.C, although based on salutary principles, can by no stretch of imagination be treated as equivalent to a law. These recommendations are neither regulations made under the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, nor do they bear any resemblance whatever to the law referred to in Article 254 of the Constitution. The proviso to Article 213(1) of the Constitution has no application to the present case and the Governor was not required to await instructions from the President before promulgating the Ordinance in question. Apart from all this, I see no conflict between the principle adopted in the Ordinance and that stated in Clause (xi) of the recommendations of the U.G.C. to which Shri Panicker draw my attention.

6. The purpose of the Ordinance is to provide specifically that the teacher is bound to do examination work whenever called upon to do so by the competent authorities. The learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents has fairly stated that none of the pecuniary benefits otherwise available to the petitioners is affected by any provision of the Ordinance. This is recorded. I fail to see how any of the provisions of the Ordinance can be regarded as violative of Article 31 of the Constitution. Legislation providing for penalty for disobedience of the law is not inhibited by the restriction contained in Clause (3) of Article 31. I see no merits in that contention. As rightly pointed out by the learned Additional Advocate General, the Ordinance has only laid down a healthy principle which is but a part of the package stipulated by the U.G.C. for adopting the revised pay-scales.

7. I am not impressed by the criticism that the Ordinance has eroded the principles adopted under the agreements between the educational agencies and the Government. I do not see how the existing agreements are affected by any provision of the Ordinance. Assuming that they are affected, no contract can stand in the way of legislation and no contract can curtail legislative competence.

8. I do not see any substance in the contention that the Ordinance has deprived the petitioners of their constitutional right to liberty. The Governor is perfectly competent by virtue of entry 32 in List II and entry 25 in List III of the 7th Schedule to the Constitution to promulgate the Ordinance. If the Governor has the power to promulgate the Ordinance, she has also the power to provide for punishment of any violation of the Ordinance. Any such provision for the imposition of penalty cannot be regarded as a deprivation of liberty. What is provided for under the Ordinance is a regulation of the conditions of service of the teachers and the others mentioned therein. Regulation of service conditions is not a deprivation of constitutional or legal rights. I am not satisfied that no guideline is provided in the Ordinance for the exercise of statutory power by the concerned officers. The policy of the law is clearly declared in the preamble which says;

Whereas the teachers of the colleges affiliated to the University of Kerala or the University of Calicut have threatened that they would refuse to attend to the valuation of examination papers and other work relating to the examinations to be held by the said Universities from April, 1978, unless their demands regarding revised scales of pay are not met;

And whereas about three lakhs of students will be appearing for the said examinations;

And whereas such threatened refusal by the teachers if materialised will adversely affect the future of such a large number of students;

And whereas it is necessary to provide specifically that the work in connection with University examinations shall be the duty of the teachers and the non-teaching staff of affiliated colleges and the officers, teachers and other employees of the said Universities and that refusal to perform such duty will entail forfeiture of salary;

And whereas the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kerala is not in session and the Governor of Kerala is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for her to take immediate action'.

The purpose for which the power can be exercised by the officers is well specified under the relevant provisions. The officers are expected to act on the basis of their 'satisfaction' which expression is based on a well defined concept of administrative law. The Ordinance has also provided for appeals to the Appellate Tribunal from orders passed by the concerned officers. Such power, in my view is not unfettered or unguided, and it is conferred on the officers in the interest of the public--i.e., to safeguard the vital interest of a large body of students anxiously waiting on the threshold of the examination halls of our two Universities.

9. As seen above, one of the conditions mentioned by the U.G.C. for payment of the revised pay-scales is that no teacher shall be paid any remuneration for examination work, including invigilation work. The teacher must therefore, according to the U.G.C, accept the examination work as part of his official duty. This means that such work is as much a part of his duty as is teaching itself. To evade either is to evade his primary responsibility. This is a principle which is well known and is universally adopted. This is the principle which is embodie in the Ordinance, and which is recommended by the U.G.C. The petitioners who are now striving for the implementation of the recommendations of the U.G.C. cannot therefore be regarded as aggrieved by an Ordinance declaring the very same principle, namely, that examination work is part of the official work of the teachers.

10. I am not convinced that the Ordinance suffers from any constitutional infirmity. I am also not convinced that the petitioners are aggrieved by the Ordinance. The original petitions are accordingly dismissed.


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