State varsities can fix teachers' pay scale: SC

A state university can fix its own criteria with regard to retirement age and pay scale of teachers, despite the powers enjoyed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to issue directions under the law, the Supreme Court has held.

According to a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice (since retired) Altamas Kabir, the regulations issued by the UGC, the regulator of higher education, would not be automatically implemented in view of their implications, including the financial one.

“There is no ambiguity that the final decision to enhance the age of superannuation of teachers within a particular state would be that of the state itself. The right of the commission (UGC) to frame Regulations having the force of law is admitted. However, state governments are also entitled to legislate with matters relating to education under Entry 25 of List III (concurrent),” said the court.

“So long as the state legislation does not encroach upon the jurisdiction of Parliament, the state legislation would obviously have primacy over any other law. If there is any legislation enacted by the central government under Entry 25 List III, both would have to be treated on par with each other,” said the bench, also comprising Justices S S Nijjar and J Chelameswar.

Dismissed teachers’ plea

The court passed the verdict while dismissing a plea made by state university teachers from Bihar and others for enhancement of their retirement age from 62 to 65 years and implementation of higher pay-scale in view of several regulations issued by the UGC.

 “In our view, there can be no automatic application of the recommendations made by the commission without any conscious decision being taken by the State in this regard on account of the financial implications and other consequences attached to such a decision,” said the court.

It further pointed out that education now being a List III (concurrent) subject, the state government was at liberty to frame its own laws relating to education in the state, and is not bound to accept or follow the regulations framed by the UGC.

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