The Registrar Karnataka … vs Prabhugouda on 17 December, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

The Registrar Karnataka … vs Prabhugouda on 17 December, 2020

Author: R. Subhash Reddy

Bench: Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy, M.R. Shah

 SLP(C) No. 8088/2020




                                                                                 REPORTABLE


                                         IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                          CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                   CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4079 OF 2020
                                (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) NO. 8088 OF 2020)


                  Registrar Karnataka University & Anr.
                                                                               Appellant(s)

                                                 Versus


                  Dr. Prabhugouda & Anr.
                                                                               Respondent(s)

                                               J U D G M E N T

R.Subhash Reddy,J.

1. Leave granted.

2. This civil appeal is filed by the Karnataka

University, at Dharwad, through its Registrar and

another, aggrieved by the judgment and order dated

02.01.2020, passed in writ appeal No.100436 of 2019, by

the High Court of Karnataka, Dharwad Bench.

3. By the aforesaid Order, Division Bench of High Court

has dismissed the writ appeal preferred by the appellants

herein, calling in question the order passed by the

learned Single Judge in writ petition No. 100353 of 2018
Signature Not Verified

(S-PRO) dated 13.03.2019 allowing the writ petition and
Digitally signed by
Nidhi Ahuja
Date: 2020.12.17
17:33:59 IST
Reason:

declaring that the effective date of “Career Advancement

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

Scheme” (for short ‘CAS’) promotion of the first

respondent-writ petitioner was 01.01.2009 and also

directed to grant all consequential benefits to him, as

flow from such fixation. In fact, the CAS promotion was

already given to the first respondent- writ petitioner

and pay fixation has already been made, but it was from

the date of 28.10.2013.

4. The brief factual matrix of the case is that, the

first respondent-writ petitioner had claimed his

promotion under CAS, promulgated by the UGC, to be given

effect from 01.01.2009 instead of 28.10.2013, from which

date, promotion is given to the writ petitioner. The writ

petitioner was earlier working as an Associate Professor,

in J.S.S College, which is affiliated to Karnataka

University. In pursuance of syndicate Resolution No.24

dated 26.10.2013, the writ petitioner was appointed as an

Associate Professor in the P.G. Department of Studies in

Mathematics in the University. Pursuant to his

appointment, he joined in the service of the University

on 28.10.2013 and vide order dated 31.12.2015, his

service was confirmed with effect from 28.10.2013.

5. By issuing Circular dated 04.07.2013, the University

invited applications for promotion, from eligible

Assistant Professors, Associate professor and Professor

(stage 5) under CAS. The first respondent-writ petitioner

made an application in response to the said Circular, for

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

promotion to the post of Professor under UGC, CAS. He

appeared for interview on 12.08.2014 before the Board of

Appointment (BOA), which has recommended his case for

promotion and accordingly promotion order was issued on

16.02.2016, promoting the writ petitioner as a Professor,

with effect from 28.10.2013, that is, from the date of

his eligibility, to the said post. He has been promoted

to the post of Professor with effect from 28.10.2013,

taking into consideration his past three years of service

in previous college, where he worked as Associate

Professor. The claim of the first respondent- writ

petitioner in the High Court was that as he has completed

three years of service in the cadre of Associate

Professor from 01.01.2006 to 01.01.2009, as such, he

ought to have been considered for promotion under CAS

from 01.01.2009 instead of 28.10.2013. During the

relevant time, neither he was in the service of the

University nor working in any of the constituent Colleges

of the University, but he was in service of J.S.S

College, Dharwad, which is an affiliated College to the

Dharwad University. The first respondent- writ petitioner

made representations dated 18.03.2016 and 25.07.2016, in

this regard, for which, he was replied by the University

on 04.08.2017. The claim of the writ petitioner, for

grant of CAS promotion from 01.01.2009, was placed before

the Syndicate of the University, and the Syndicate in its

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

meeting held on 19.07.2017, vide Resolution No.36, has

rejected the claim, stating that there is no provision to

grant the said benefit from 01.01.2009, as claimed. In

accordance with the Resolution of the Syndicate, an

endorsement came to be issued by the University on

04.08.2017, a copy which was served on the writ

petitioner.

6. Challenging the Resolution of the Syndicate of the

University, bearing Resolution No. 36, dated 19.07.2017

and the endorsement dated 04.08.2017, the first

respondent has filed writ petition No. 100353 of 2018

before the High Court of Karnataka, Dharwad Bench,

questioning the aforesaid resolution, endorsement and by

seeking further consequential directions to fix the

eligibility date from 01.01.2009 for promotion to the

post of Professor under CAS, in mathematics, instead of

28.10.2013 and to reconsider his representation dated

10.08.2017. The claim of the first respondent-writ

petitioner was opposed, by filing the written note of

objections in the High Court but the learned Single Judge

of the High Court, by Order dated 13.03.2019, allowed the

writ petition, by recording a finding that the writ

petitioner completed three years of teaching by

01.01.2009, as such effective date should have been

01.01.2009. Learned Single Judge of the High Court was of

the view that his service in affiliated College is also

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to be considered for the purpose of promotion under CAS

and consequently writ petitioner is entitled for

promotion from 01.01.2009 instead of 28.10.2013.

7. Aggrieved by the Order of the learned Single Judge,

the appellants herein preferred the writ appeal in writ

appeal No. 100436 of 2019 and by Order dated 02.01.2020,

the said writ appeal is dismissed, confirming the Order

of the learned Single Judge, by recording a finding that

the magnanimous interpretation is to be given for the

wordings ”University/Colleges”, as found in Clause 12.7

of the Statute. The Division Bench has held that the word

‘colleges’ used in the Statute, not only includes

constituent colleges, but also includes other colleges,

which are affiliated to Karnataka University.

8. We have heard Sri Kirit Javali, learned counsel

appearing for the appellant-University and Sri Siddarath

Bhatnagar, learned senior counsel appearing for the first

respondent- writ petitioner.

9. Having heard the learned counsels on both sides, we

have perused the impugned order and other material placed

on record.

10. It is contended by learned counsel for the

appellants that, it is an admitted position that, prior

to joining the appellant- University, respondent No.1-

writ petitioner was working as Associate Professor from

01.01.2006 till 23.10.2013 (with an affiliated College)

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

and thereafter, he joined the University as Assistant

Professor. It is submitted that at the time of

recruitment, respondent No.1 did not apply for the post

of Professor, as he was well aware that he was not

eligible for the same. The writ petitioner was promoted

as Professor vide Order dated 26.10.2013, he joined the

University service with effect from 28.10.2013. It is

submitted that the effective date of promotion of

respondent No.1, for the post of Professor, cannot be

from any date prior to 28.10.2013, as at that point of

time, he was admittedly not in the employment of

University. Further it is brought to the notice by the

learned counsel that very preamble of the statute makes

it clear that the candidate must have been on the rolls

of the University or a Constituent College. It is further

submitted that the benefit of Clause 17 of the Statute

was duly given to respondent No.1, and his previous

service was considered for promotion, but as he was not

in the effective service of the University, the

University has rightly given the effective date from

28.10.2013. It is submitted that as per the statute

framed by the University, the incumbent teacher was

required to be on the rolls of the ‘constituent College’

only and not ‘affiliated College’. It is submitted that

interpretation accorded to the statute by the High Court,

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

is improper, as is evident from the meaningful reading of

complete statute, as well as the preamble thereof.

11. On the other hand, learned senior counsel Sri

Siddarath Bhatnagar, appearing for the first respondent

has submitted that the Statute framed by the University

for effecting promotions in CAS, applies to Professors,

Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Principals of

Constituent Colleges, Directors of Physical education and

Librarians and allied posts. It is submitted that the

term “principals of Constituent Colleges”, ought to be

read disjunctively, as against the other posts, mentioned

in the provision, since it appears only qua a category of

principals and not other posts. By referring to the

definition under Section 2(2) of Karnataka State

Universities Act, 2000, it is submitted that term

“College” includes ‘Constituent College’ as well as

‘affiliated College’. It is further submitted that as the

High Court has correctly interpreted the relevant statute

and has recorded a finding that the effective date of

promotion should have been 01.01.2009 instead of

28.10.2013, there are no grounds to interfere with the

impugned judgment of the High Court.

12. Before we consider the rival submissions made by the

learned counsels on both sides, we deem it appropriate to

refer to certain relevant provisions of the statute,

governing the direct recruitment, promotion under CAS,

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

framed by the University. The preamble and the title of

the statute, read as under:

“PREAMBLE: Consequent upon the extension of UGC
pay scales as revised from 01.01.2006 in
respect of Teachers, Librarians and Physical
education Personnel of Universities and
Constituent Colleges and issuance of letter No.
1-32/2006-U II/UI-I (i) dated 31.12.2008 of the
Government of the India, Ministry of Human
Resource Development, Department of Higher
Education, New Delhi and Notification No.F-3-
1/2009 (PS) dated 23.09.2009 of the University
Grants Commission New Delhi and Government of
Karnataka Order No. ED 37 UNE 2009, Bangalore
dated 24.12.2009 prescribing the revised norms
of recruitment and qualification for
appointment and promotion of Professors,
Associate Professors, Assistant Professors,
Physical Education Directors and Librarians, it
has become imperative to frame the statutes for
recruitment and promotion of the above
mentioned personnel in the Karnatak University,
Dharwad.

TITLE: Statute governing the direct
recruitment, promotion under Career Advancement
Scheme (CAS) and conduct of interview to the
posts of Professors, Associate Professors,
Assistant Professors, Principals of Constituent
Colleges, Directors of Physical Education and
Librarians under Section 40(1)(k) of KSU Act,
2000.”

13. Clause 12 of the Statute deals with the Screening-

cum-Evaluation Committee for CAS Promotion. Clauses 12.6

and 12.7 of the statute read as under:

“12.6 CAS promotions being a personal promotion
to the incumbent teacher holding a substantive
sanctioned post, on superannuation of the
individual incumbent, the said post shall
revert back to its original cadre.

12.7 The incumbent teacher must be on the role
and active service of the University/Colleges
on the date of consideration by the Selection
Committee for Selection/CAS Promotion.”

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

14. Clause 13 of the statute deals with the Stages of

Promotion under CAS of Incumbent and Newly Appointed

Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, Professors.

Clauses 13.7 and 13.8 of the statute, read as under:

“13.7 Assistant Professors completing three
years of teaching in third grade (stage 3) shall
be eligible, subject to the qualifying
conditions and the API based PBAS requirements
prescribed by this Statute, to move to the next
higher grade (stage 4) and to be designated as
Associate Professor.

13.8 Associate Professor completing three
years of service in stage 4 and possessing a
Ph.D. Degree in the relevant discipline shall be
eligible to be appointed and designated as
Professor and be placed in the next higher grade
(stage 5), subject to

(a) satisfying the required
credit points as per API based PBAS
methodology provided in Table I-III
of Annexure-I stipulated in this
Statute, and

(b) an assessment by a duly
constituted selection committee as
suggested for the direct recruitment
of Professor. Provided that, no
teacher, other than those with a
Ph.D., shall be promoted or
appointed as Professor.”

15. Clause 17 of the statute provides for Counting of

Past Service for Direct Recruitment and Promotion Under

CAS. A comprehensive reading of the statute makes it very

clear that for the purpose of granting CAS promotion, the

incumbent teacher must have holding a substantive

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

sanctioned post, as much as CAS promotion being a

personal promotion to the incumbent teacher and on

superannuation of the individual incumbent, the said post

shall revert back to its original cadre. It is also clear

that the incumbent teacher must be on the “roll and

active services of the University or the College”, on the

date of consideration by the Selection Committee for

selection under CAS Promotion. A harmonious reading of

Clauses 12.6 and 12.7 of the Statute read with the

Preamble thereof, makes it clear that the term “College”

used in the said statute is referable to only Constituent

College but not affiliated College.

16. The High Court, by losing sight of a vital aspect

namely, that the first respondent was not in actual

service of the University or of the constituent College,

has ordered to extend the benefit from 01.01.2009, on the

ground that he has completed three years of service, by

working as Assistant Professor in Mathematics in UGC pay

scale with effect from 01.01.2006 to 01.01.2009. There

cannot be any promotion in the University for the period

where the writ petitioner was not in effective service of

the University. The University is not expected to order

promotion for the period when he was working in

affiliated college. The High Court, by mere mathematical

calculation, by basing on the service certificate which

is “Annexure D” before the High Court, has held that as

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

he has completed three years of service as Assistant

Professor in UGC scale and therefore the effective date

of promotion should be 01.01.2009 and not 28.10.2013, as

granted by the University. Further, the High Court has

fell in error in interpreting clause/paragraph 12.7 of

the Statute, by giving liberal meaning to the word

“colleges”, by extending to “affiliated college”. Even

the Division Bench has also committed the same error by

recording a finding that a magnanimous interpretation is

to be given for the wordings University/Colleges, as used

in the paragraph/clause 12.7 of the Statute. The

University has correctly interpreted the various clauses

of the Statute and by giving the benefit of past service,

has given effect to his promotion from the date of entry

into the service of the University. It is also to be

noticed that at the time of appointment itself, though

the writ petitioner has completed three years of service,

fully knowing that he was not eligible for appointment as

a Professor, he has not claimed the post of Professor.

Even the representations filed by the writ petitioner

indicate that he claimed notional service, in spite of

the same, the High Court, by misconstruing the statute

contrary to its objectives, as mentioned in the preamble

liberally construed, going beyond the scope of the

statute and granted all consequential benefits, by

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SLP(C) No. 8088/2020

declaring that the effective date for promotion was to be

01.01.2009 instead of 28.10.2013.

17. We do not find any substance in the argument made by

the learned senior counsel appearing for the respondents,

that the term “principals of Constituent Colleges” ought

to be read disjunctively as against the other posts

mentioned in the provision. If it is to be read in the

manner as sought to be argued by learned counsel, same

will run contrary to the objectives and preamble of the

statute itself. Even the submission of the learned

counsel relying on the definition under Section 2(2) of

Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, also does not

render any assistance to support his case. Karnataka

State Universities Act, 2000, applies to all the

colleges, which includes private college. Even private

colleges have to seek affiliation from the jurisdictional

University, as such the College is widely defined in the

Act. Said definition cannot be readily imported, as

defined, for the purpose of grant of promotions under

CAS. For the purpose of grant of promotions under CAS,

the word ‘College’ is to be interpreted, keeping in mind,

the preamble of the statute, governing promotions.

18. In that view of the matter, we are of the clear view

that, the incumbent teacher, who is entitled for

promotion under the scheme, is to be given benefit only

from the entry of service of such incumbent into the

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University. Though the earlier service is to be counted

for the purpose of giving benefit of promotion, but

effective date for all purposes is only from the date of

entry of first respondent into the University service,

i.e, 28.10.2013. The University is not expected to grant

promotion, covering the period, anterior to the entry of

service of the first respondent into University. As such,

we are of the view that the University has rightly given

the benefit of promotion from 28.10.2013.

19. For the aforesaid reasons, this civil appeal is

allowed, and judgment and Order dated 02.01.2020, passed

by the High Court in writ appeal No. 100436 of 2019

(S-PRO), is hereby quashed and set aside and consequently

the writ petition filed by the first respondent in writ

petition No. 100353 of 2018 (C-PRO) stands dismissed. No

order as to costs.

………………J.

[ASHOK BHUSHAN]

………………J.

[R.SUBHASH REDDY]

………………J.

[M.R.SHAH]

New Delhi;

DECEMBER 17, 2020

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