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Gujarat Sachivalaya and Allied Offices' Stenographers' Association and Ors. Vs. State of Gujarat (19.07.1985 - GUJHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Application No. 298/79
Judge
Reported in(1986)1GLR228; (1986)IILLJ117Guj
ActsConstitution of India - Article 309
AppellantGujarat Sachivalaya and Allied Offices' Stenographers' Association and Ors.
RespondentState of Gujarat
Cases ReferredBhagwatiprasad v. State
Excerpt:
.....does not provide training and passing of examination in gujarati stenography - subsequently state government decided to switch over language from english to gujarati in running state administration - english stenographers cannot be compelled to take training in gujarati stenography - being outside duty such scheme cannot be made compulsory for them - compulsion would amount to change of service conditions - act of state government invalid and unjustified. - - clause 11 of the scheme provides that it is compulsory of the english stenographers undergoing training to attend 80% of the days of training for appearing at the proficiency examination and in case he has not so attended, he will have to make good the deficiency before appearing at the proficiency examination and until..........state policy to switch over to gujarathi. this committee submitted its report in june 1978. the state government accepted, amongst others, the recommendations made by the committee relating to the stenographers and learning of gujarathi stenography by the english stenographers in the state service. one of the recommendations made by the committee was that the english stenographers should be made to learn gujarathi shorthand and typing as early as possible and for that purpose the government should conduct training classes. it was in pursuance of this recommendation that the state government framed as scheme for training all english stenographers in gujarathi stenography. under this scheme which was framed under resolution, annexure 'a' dated 28th march, 1978, it was made compulsory.....
Judgment:

1. The short question which arises for my consideration in this petition is whether the State Government can frame a scheme to make it compulsory for English Stenographers to undergo training in Gujarathi Stenography.

2. The Government of Gujarat has, in exercise of powers conferred by Art. 309 of the Constitution of India, framed recruitment rules for appointment to the post of English Stenographer (First Grade) and English Stenographers (Second Grade), in the lower division of the Subordinate Secretariat Service, there are separate rules for English Stenographers (First Grade) and English Stenographers (Second Grade). Under these Recruitment Rule, candidates selected for the post of English Stenographer (First Grade) and English Stenographer (Second Grade) are required to pass Gujarathi and/or Hindi examination according to the rules framed in that behalf. The rules do not provide for training and passing of examination in Gujarathi Stenography. In other words, under the Recruitment Rules, candidates selected for appointment as English Stenographers, whether in First Grade or in Second Grade, are not required to undergo any training to pass any examination in Gujarathi Stenography. This petition is filed on behalf of about one hundred English Stenographers who were required as English Stenographers in either First Grade or Second Grade under the aforesaid rules. Petition No. 1 is an association of Stenographers while petitioners Nos. 2 and 3 are employed as English Stenographers, Second Grade. It is the case of the petitioners that petitioners Nos. 2 and 3 were recruited as English Stenographers, Second Grade, on their passing examination and test held by the Gujarat Public Service Commission, under the aforesaid Recruitment Rules.

3. The Government of Gujarat has declared Gujarathi as the official language of the State vide Gujarathi Official Language Act, 1960 (Gujarat Act No. 1 of 1961). A State level Committee headed by Mr. Ramlal Parikh, M.P. was appointed in June 1977 to review the existing position about switching over from English to Gujarathi language in running the State administration and to suggest measures for implementation of the State policy to switch over to Gujarathi. This committee submitted its report in June 1978. The State Government accepted, amongst others, the recommendations made by the committee relating to the stenographers and learning of Gujarathi Stenography by the English Stenographers in the State service. One of the recommendations made by the Committee was that the English Stenographers should be made to learn Gujarathi shorthand and typing as early as possible and for that purpose the Government should conduct training classes. It was in pursuance of this recommendation that the State Government framed as scheme for training all English Stenographers in Gujarathi Stenography. Under this scheme which was framed under Resolution, Annexure 'A' dated 28th March, 1978, it was made compulsory for English Stenographers to take training in Gujarathi Shorthand and Gujarathi Typewriting. Under the scheme the English Stenographers were initially required to take training for three months. However, later on, Clause 6 of the Resolution was amended and the period of three months was increased to sic months. One of the clauses, namely Clause 12 of the scheme provided that in case the English Stenographer did not complete the training course or did not pass the examination of proficiency, he would be liable to pay back the salary which he had received during the training period and he would not be entitled to earn increments till he passed the proficiency examination in Gujarathi Stenography. This clause, however, was later on deleted. Clause 11 of the scheme provides that it is compulsory of the English Stenographers undergoing training to attend 80% of the days of training for appearing at the proficiency examination and in case he has not so attended, he will have to make good the deficiency before appearing at the proficiency examination and until he appears at the proficiency examination he shall not be entitled to earn increments. However, exception has been made in case deficiency in attendance is on account of ill health and prior permission in that regard has been given by the Director of Languages. It is necessary to set out other clauses of the scheme. It is not disputed on behalf of the State Government that the scheme provided for compulsory training for the English Stenographers in Gujarathi Stenography. It is, however, submitted that the scheme has been framed on account of the Government policy to switch over to Gujarathi language for running the State administration. According to the respondents, if the English Stenographers do not learn Gujarathi Stenography, they would cease to be useful in the course of time because the work in English in the offices in which they are working will be reduced with the result that several of the posts of English Stenographers will have to be abolished resulting in their unemployment. The State Government does not wish to create such a situation and to avoid such a situation and to smoothly convert the posts of English Stenographers to those of Gujarathi Stenographers, the scheme as aforesaid was framed. According to the respondents, if English Stenographers are called upon to acquire proficiency in Gujarathi Stenography it cannot amount to alteration of their service conditions. The State Government has a right to call upon its employees to pass such examination and test from time to time as it may consider necessary in the interest of public service and such requirement cannot be called change in service conditions. On the other hand the petitioners contend that they were recruited as English Stenographers and they are at present working as English Stenographers. It is their case that the cadre of English Stenographers is a distinct and separate cadre from that of Gujarathi Stenographers. As English Stenographers they are not required to take dictation in Gujarathi or do any typewriting work in Gujarathi. There is, therefore, no question of taking any training in Gujarathi Stenography. It is submitted that to make it compulsory for them to take training in Gujarathi Stenography would amount to change in their conditions of service. The petitioners have, therefore, prayed that the scheme framed by the State Government making it compulsory for them it take training in Gujarathi Stenography deserves to be quashed and set aside.

4. It is true that as a matter of policy the State Government has decided to switch over from English to Gujarathi in running the State administration. As a result of this policy, the work which is being taken from English Stenographers will be progressively reduced. Ultimately when there is complete switch over to Gujarathi language posts of English Stenographers may have to be abolished. It is keeping in mind this situation that the State Government appears to have framed the scheme for training the English Stenographers in Gujarathi Stenography. The object behind the scheme is laudable but the question is whether it is open to the State Government to make it compulsory for English Stenographers to take training in Gujarathi Stenography. As pointed out above, members of the petitioner No. 1 association and petitioners Nos. 2 and 3 were recruited as English Stenographers under the relevant Recruitment Ruels for recruitment of English Stenographers (First Grade) or English Stenographers (Second Grade) framed under Art. 309 of the Constitution of India. The posts to which the members of the petitioner No. 1 association and petitioners Nos. 2 and 3 were recruited were posts of English Stenographer. The work which they are required to do as English Stenographer is to take dictation in English and to do English typing work. Taking dictation in Gujarathi or Gujarathi typewriting is not part of the duty of the English Stenographers. Under the Recruitment Rules, the only examination which they were required to pass was Gujarathi or Hindi examination according to the rules framed in that behalf. Now by framing the scheme as aforesaid, what the State Government wants the English Stenographers to do is to take training in Gujarathi Stenography and Gujarathi Typewriting. It is difficult to comprehend as to how these Stenographers can be compelled to take training in Gujarathi Stenography when, as pointed out above, it is not part of their duty to take dictation in Gujarathi or to do any Gujarathi typewriting. Training, if at all, can only be in regard to the duty which they are required to discharge. If it is not part of their duty to take dictation in Gujarathi language or do Gujarathi Typewriting work, it cannot be made compulsory for them to take training in Gujarathi shorthand and Gujarathi typewriting. If it is made compulsory for the English Stenographers to take training in Gujarathi Stenography, it would amount to change in their conditions of service. It is obvious that they are required to do something which does not form part of their duty. It is true that if the English Stenographers do not take training in Gujarathi Stenography, they may ultimately lose their jobs as when the posts of English Stenographers are abolished. That consequence they will have to face if they choose not to take training and get themselves absorbed as Gujarathi Stenographers. It is to prevent their unemployment in the course of time that the Government appears to have framed the scheme for their training in Gujarathi Stenography. However, such scheme cannot be made compulsory. A person recruited as English Stenographer may not want to work as Gujarathi Stenographer as it is a matter of choice with him whether or not to become a Gujarathi Stenographer. If he chooses not to become a Gujarathi Stenographer he may lose his job; but that is a matter for him to decide. In my opinion, therefore, it was not open to the State Government to frame a scheme which compelled the English Stenographers to take training in Gujarathi Stenography and if such scheme is framed it would amount to change of conditions of service.

5. As held by this Court in the case of Bhagwatiprasad v. State, XVIII G.L.R. 562, a person holding a civil post or being in civil service of the State is entitled to certain conditions of service prescribed for that post. If he is in a cadre or post he continues to be in the cadre or in the post unless promoted or any penalty of dismissal or removal from service or reduction is imposed upon him. In the absence of imposition of such a penalty, such holder of a civil post is entitled to serve in the post of cadre till the date of superannuation or till the date when he can be compulsorily retired under the relevant rules. The petitioners are, therefore, entitled to continue in the cadre of English Stenographer on the conditions on which they were recruited. There was no condition of taking training in Gujarathi Stenography and, therefore, they cannot be compelled to take training in Gujarathi Stenography. If they are compulsorily required to take training in Gujarathi Stenography, it would amount to change of conditions of service violative of Art. 16 of the Constitution of India. As held by this Court in Bhagwatiprasad's case (supra) the State Government cannot take shelter under Rule 17 of the Bombay Civil Services Rules, 1959. It may, however, be mentioned that in the instant case the State Government does not seek to rely on the said Rule 17. In my opinion, therefore, the scheme, Annexure 'A' to the petition, framed by the State Government making it compulsory of the English Stenographers to take training in Gujarathi Shorthand and Gujarathi Typewriting cannot be sustained. I do not consider it necessary to deal with the other questions raised in this petition as the petitioners succeed in their challenge to the scheme on the ground stated above.

6. As a result, the petition is allowed. The scheme, Annexure 'A' to the petition, dated 28th March, 1978 framed by the State Government making it compulsory for the English Stenographers to take training in Gujarathi Shorthand and Gujarathi Typewriting, is quashed and set aside and it is declared that it was not within the powers of the State Government to make it compulsory for the English Stenographers to take training in Gujarathi Shorthand and Gujarathi Typewriting. Rule made absolute with no order as to costs.


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