Lecturer gets SC relief over salaries clearance

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India, File Photo

New Delhi, Sep 15 A Supreme Court order directing to clear retired lecturer Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s salaries has brought much relief after he had not received his dues since he started working at the Bharat Mishra Sanskrit College, Salempur, Bihar, in July 1980 till July 2013.

But despite getting the top court’s clearance, Gokhale, 72, is still struggling as the college officials were not co-operating to clear his pending dues, his lawyer Mithilesh Kumar Jaiswal told IANS.

Jaiswal and another one of Gokhale’s lawyers Suresh Prasad told IANS that his salaries could not be cleared as he had been locked in a long-running legal battle with another lecturer Prem Kumari, who has challenged an order declaring her appointment as illegal.

Both of them were appointed lecturers on July 31, 1980 despite the sanctioning of only one position.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M.R. Shah had observed the matter and passed a favourable order for both the parties.

The matter at dispute is the legality of Kumari’s appointment as history lecturer in the College, which was affiliated to the Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University.

On the same day, the college’s governing had also appointed Gokhale as an economics lecturer.

Kumari said that advertisements were made for the post of a history lecturer, not for economics and therefore Gokhale’s appointment was never approved by the university.

Gokhale said that he was a deserving candidate as Kumari had not even completed her post-graduation when her appointment was confirmed.

According to the Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, only one post of lecturer was sanctioned in the college.

In 1983, the registrar has cancelled Gokhale’s appointment and made it provisional.

Gokhale challenged the cancellation before the court. In pursuant to the court order, an enquiry was held.

On the basis of the enquiry, the varsity’s Vice-Chancellor in 2013 directed Kumari’s removal from her post and the recovery of salary paid to her during the period.

Kumari challenged the Vice-Chancellor’s order in the Patna High Court but failed to get relief.

Thereafter she challenged the Patna High Court order in the apex court.

The top court observed that Kumari was employed as a history lecturer on July 31, 1980 in the Bharat Mishra Sanskrit College. In March 1982, it was taken over as a constituent college of the University.

Kumari has continued in the employee of the university till the impugned order was passed on June 24, 2013.

She pointed out that the termination order of the petitioner was passed consequent upon the determination of the superior right of Gokhale, who has since retired on attaining the age of superannuation.

It was therefore contended that Kumari would not be usurping anybody’s right if the petitioner is allowed to continue in service

“In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, the ground of qualification could not have been availed to remove an appellant from services particularly after the lapse of three decades. Thus, we set aside the impugned order of termination of the services of the appellant (Kumari)”, the court said.

The bench added that Kumari will be reinstated and be paid all the benefits which would have accrued to her had she continued the services.

“Respondent No.6 (Gokhale) has attained the age of superannuation, his right shall not be adversely affected to claim the salary as per the impugned order passed by the High Court,” the apex court said.

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