NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY VS OM PRAKASH RAHI Case

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF  TECHNOLOGY VS OM PRAKASH RAHI Case

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
  CIVIL APPEAL NO(S).       2575        OF 2022
(Arising out of SLP(Civil) No(s). 31892 of 2018)
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF 
TECHNOLOGY & ANOTHER ….APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
OM PRAKASH RAHI & OTHERS ….RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
   CIVIL APPEAL NO(S).      2576         OF 2022
     (Arising out of SLP(Civil) No(s). 31890 of 2018)
   CIVIL APPEAL NO(S).       2577         OF 2022
     (Arising out of SLP(Civil) No(s). 32025 of 2018)
   CIVIL APPEAL NO(S).       2578          OF 2022
     (Arising out of SLP(Civil) No(s). 31445 of 2018)
   CIVIL APPEAL NO(S).       2579         OF 2022
     (Arising out of SLP(Civil) No(s). 31900 of 2018)
J U D G M E N T
Rastogi, J.
1. Leave granted.
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2. The present batch of appeals are directed against the selfsame judgment dated 31st July, 2018 passed by the Division Bench
of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla which upheld the
order passed by the Director of the National Institute of Technology
without going through the process of selection of the teachers in the
higher pay band of Rs. 37400­67000 with AGP Rs.9000 and redesignated as Associate Professor consequent upon completion of
three years of service in AGP Rs.8000(6th Central Pay Commission)
and   directed   the   appellants   to   consider   their   claim   for   further
promotion   to   the   post   of   Professor,   and   if   found   suitable,   the
teacher may be promoted from the due date with all consequential
benefits.
3. The facts in brief have been taken note from Civil Appeal @
SLP(Civil)   No.   31892   of   2018,   culled   out   from   the   record   and
relevant   for   the   purpose   are   that   the   appellant­institution,   was
initially the Regional  Engineering College(REC) (H.P.), Hamirpur.
Consequent upon conversion of 14 NITs and 3 RECs including the
present institution at Hamirpur as National Institute of Technology
with deemed university status, they were taken over as fully funded
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institutions of Central Government by notification dated 14th May,
2003 wherein it was decided with the approval of the competent
authority to implement Career Advancement Scheme(CAS) in NITs
after approval of the recommendations of the Selection Committee
by the Board of Governors(BOGs) of the NIT concerned by Office
Memorandum dated 15th  September, 2003 and prescribed service
conditions   of   the   teachers/employees   of   the   then   RECs   upon
conversion   as   NITs   with   deemed   university   status   by   later
notification dated 9th November, 2003.
4. Later, Parliament enacted the National Institute of Technology
Act, 2007 w.e.f. 6th  June, 2007 wherein the appellant institution
finds place in the first Schedule appended to the Act at Serial No. 5
in the list of central institutions incorporated and correspondingly
became the NIT, Hamirpur and later by the NIT (Amendment) Act,
2012 vide notification dated 8th June 2012, it became the National
Institute   of   Technology(Science,   Education   and   Research)   Act,
2007(hereinafter being referred to as the “Act 2007”). 
5. The respondent­teachers were initially appointed as a Lecturer
in   their   respective   Engineering   Department   in   the   then   REC,
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Hamirpur(now NIT Hamirpur) on 28th  June 2000.   Later, on the
recommendations   of   the   staff   selection   committee,   respondent
teachers were designated as Lecturers(Sr. Scale) in the pay scale of
Rs.10000­15200 with the approval of Board of Governors w.e.f. 25th
July,   2005   vide   order   dated   30th  December,   2005   and   later
pursuant   to   the   recommendations   of   the   6th  Central   Pay
Commission notified by letter dated 18th August, 2009, respondent
teachers were placed as Assistant Professors in AGP Rs.6000 w.e.f.
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st  January, 2006 and granted AGP Rs.7000 w.e.f. 1st  July, 2006
vide pay fixation order dated 20th January 2010.  Further, on the
recommendations of the selection committee in terms of directives
of   Ministry   of   Human   Resource   Development   (hereinafter   being
referred to as the “MHRD”) dated 14th March, 2012 and 18th March
2013   and   with   due   approval   of   the   Board   of   Governors,   NIT,
Hamirpur, they were fixed in the AGP Rs.8000 vide orders dated
25th June, 2013 and 12th November, 2013 respectively.  The orders
passed by the competent authority granting AGP of Rs.8000 are not
the subject matter of challenge.
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6. It may be noticed that earlier, such of the Assistant Professors
and Lecturers (Selection Grade) who had completed the requisite
period of service in the appropriate pay scale with the approval of
the competent authority, were re­designated as Associate Professor
in   the   pay   scale/pay   band   PB­4   (Rs.37400­67000)   with   AGP
Rs.9000   by   an   order   dated   22nd  June   2010   as   per   the   MHRD
guidelines dated 18th August, 2009 and letter dated 31st December,
2008. 
7. But this time, the Director of the NIT, on its own, on mere
completion of three years in the AGP Rs.8000, without undergoing
the process of selection or the recommendations being made with
the approval of the Board of Governors, granted benefit of AGP
Rs.9000 with re­designation as Associate Professor to all the six
respondent   teachers   and   one   of   the   orders   for   the   purpose   of
reference is reproduced hereunder:­
“NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
HAMIRPUR(H.P.)­177005
Office Order
Consequent upon the completion of 03 years of service in AGP
8000(6th CPC) by Dr. O.P. Rahi on 24/07/2013, he is hereby placed
in the higher pay band of Rs. 37400­67000 with AGP 9000 and
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designated as Associate Professor w.e.f. 25/07/2013 in term with
para 2 (a)(x) of Govt. of India, Ministry of HRD, New Delhi letter No.
1­32/2006­U.I(i) dated 31st December 2008.
The above incumbent will be entitled to draw the basic pay of
12400+AGP 9000 w.e.f. 19/10/2013 subject to verification by audit
and   subsequent   direction,   if   any,   received   from   MHRD   in   this
regard.
By Order
DIRECTOR
NIT HAMIRPUR(HP)
Dt 27/10/14
NIT/HMR/Admn/Rev­270(Vol­18)/2014/6435­47
Copy to:
1.Above named officer through HOD, MED
2.Dy. Registrar(Accounts), NIT Hamirpur(HP)
3.PF of the individual
REGISTRAR
       NIT HAMIRPUR(HP)”
8. Since it was not approved by MHRD as it was held to be in
contravention to the guidelines dated 14th  March, 2012 and 18th
March 2013, that became the cause of grievance to approach the
High Court by filing the writ petitions under Article 226 of the
Constitution.  
9. The   High   Court,   under   the   impugned   judgment,   held   that
MHRD was not the authority competent to issue guidelines after the
Act, 2007 came into force and since the statute, for the first time,
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was incorporated/enacted in 2017, laying down the recruitment
rules  relating  to   the   promotion   of   teachers   in  NIT   having  been
incorporated by an amendment to the statute by clause 23(5)(a) on
21st July, 2017 whereby schedule ‘E’ has been appended providing
qualifications and other terms and conditions for academic staff of
NITs which may be applicable prospectively and accordingly upheld
their placement in the higher pay band of Rs. 37400­67000 with
AGP Rs.9000 and their re­designation as Associate Professor with a
further direction for their consideration to the post of Professor in
accordance with the guidelines which have now been enforced in
the year 2017.
10. Learned   counsel   for   the   appellants   submits   that   MHRD
guidelines dated 31st December, 2008 on which the High Court has
heavily relied upon are not applicable to the NIT.  To the contrary,
after the Act, 2007 came into force, the first statute in exercise of its
power under Section 26(1) of the Act was notified on 23rd  April,
2009 which did not contain any provision for Career Advancement
Scheme and it has been introduced by the MHRD to deal with the
genuine stagnation and hardship faced by the teachers and to meet
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such exigency, higher pay grade or re­designation will be on ‘in­situ’
basis and, therefore, the work allocation remains the same and that
is   the   reason   for   which   each   of   the   respondent   teachers   was
appointed in the AGP Rs.8000 by an order dated 25th June, 2013
and 12th  November, 2013 in terms of the guidelines dated 14th
March,   2012   read   with   18th  March,   2013   based   on   the
recommendations made by the duly constituted committee. In the
given facts and circumstances, the High Court has committed the
manifest error in relying upon the guidelines of MHRD dated 31st
December   2008,   which   is   not   applicable   to   NIT   teachers,   in
consequence, the finding which has been recorded by the High
Court in upholding the orders passed by the Director granting AGP
Rs.9000 merely on completion of three years’ service and their redesignation   as   Associate   Professor   being,   per   se,   illegal   is   not
sustainable in law.
11. Learned counsel further submits that while granting benefit of
AGP Rs.9000 and their re­designation as Associate Professor, the
Director is not the authority competent in terms of the provisions of
the Act 2007, at the same time, AGP Rs.9000 and re­designation as
8
Associate   Professor   was   made   subject   to   verification   and
subsequent direction of MHRD in this regard, hence no right could
be said to be vested in favour of the respondent teachers and that is
the reason, the matter, at one stage, was sent to the committee and
since   the   committee   also   raised   certain   objections,   matter   was
referred to MHRD for seeking clarification and MHRD recorded its
finding that since the appointments have not been made in terms of
the guidelines dated 14th March, 2012 followed by 18th March 2013
and the appointments made by the Director not being approved, no
error was committed in the procedure been followed to withdraw the
benefits extended to the respondent teachers. 
12. Learned   counsel   further   submits   that   this   fact   has   been
completely overlooked by the High Court that the appointments
were made in the AGP Rs.8000, after the recommendations made
by   the   selection   committee   been   approved   by   the   Board   of
Governors,   in   terms   of   the   guidelines   dated   14th  March,   2012
followed   by   18th  March   2013   that   indeed   includes   further
appointments   to   AGP   Rs.9000   and   re­designation   as   Associate
Professor and thus, the finding which has been recorded relying
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upon the MHRD circular dated 31st December, 2008 in upholding
the   order   of   AGP   Rs.9000   and   re­designation   to   the   post   of
Associate Professor is not sustainable in law.
13. Learned counsel further submits that after the Act, 2007 came
into force, the first statute was notified in exercise of its power
under sub­section (1) of Section 26 of the Act, 2007 with the prior
approval of the visitor of NITs by notification dated 23rd April, 2009.
Clause 23 of the statute 2009 provides for making appointment to
the post of teachers by direct recruitment/promotion pursuant to
the constitution of selection committee.  Although, the notification
and other terms and conditions of appointment could not be laid
down by that time and it was notified in the year 2017, thus, in the
given circumstances, by virtue of Section 5(d) of the Act 2007,
laying   down   the   conditions   of   eligibility   for   appointment,   the
guidelines issued by the  MHRD   have a binding force and  the
finding recorded by the High Court holding that MHRD is not an
authority competent to issue guidelines after the Act, 2007 came
into   force,   is   not   sustainable   particularly,   in   the   given
circumstances   when   the   respondent   teachers   got   AGP   Rs.8000
10
pursuant to the very guidelines of MHRD dated 14th March, 2012
followed with 18th March, 2013.
14. Thus, the respondent teachers, at least could not be permitted
to approbate and reprobate, at the same time, while availing the
AGP Rs.8000 under the MHRD guidelines dated 14th March, 2012
followed with 18th March, 2013, it is not open to canvass that the
very guidelines will  not  apply for further AGP Rs.9000 and redesignation as Associate Professor and this has been completely
overlooked by the High Court while passing the impugned judgment
and needs to be interfered with by this Court.
15. Per   contra,   learned   counsel   for   the   respondents,   while
supporting the impugned judgment, submits that once their merit
has been assessed by the committee and each of them has gone
through the process of selection and interview under the Career
Advancement Scheme as per the norms fixed for Centrally Funded
Technical Institutions and corresponding AGP Rs.8000 has been
granted   to   them   by   orders   dated   25th  June,   2013   and   12th
November, 2013 respectively, each of them became entitled for AGP
Rs.9000 and for re­designation to the post of Associate Professor on
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completion   of   three   years’   service   in   the   grade   of   Assistant
Professors/   Lecturers(Sel.   Grade)   in   terms   of   MHRD   Guidelines
dated 31st  December, 2008 and para 2(x) in particular, and the
Director, being the competent authority at the given point of time,
and each of them had indisputedly completed three years’ in the
AGP Rs.8000 was entitled for the higher pay band of Rs. 37400­
67000   with   AGP   Rs.9000   and   consequent   re­designation   as
Associate Professor and this what the High Court has upheld in the
impugned judgment and the finding being in conformity with the
MHRD   guidelines   dated   31st  December   2008,   needs   no   further
interference by this Court.
16. Learned   counsel   further   submits   that,   for   the   first   time,
through an amendment to the statute under clause 23(5)(a) on 21st
July, 2017, schedule ‘E’ had been appended providing qualifications
and other terms and conditions for academic staff of NITs, thus, all
actions prior thereto are to be governed in terms of the guidelines
issued by the MHRD applicable at the given point of time, they are
entitled to protect their re­designation of Associate Professor which
they are enjoying for sufficient long time and became due for further
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promotion to the post of Professor under the guidelines which have
been introduced by an amendment to the statute by notification
dated 21st July 2017, at least at this point of time, this Court may
protect not only their service conditions but the appellants may be
directed to further consider their promotion to the post of Professor
in terms of the amended statute dated 21st July 2017.
17. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and with their
assistance perused the material available on record.
18. That prior to the appellant institution became NIT, it was a
REC and at that time, the guidelines for CAS were prescribed by the
All India Council of Technical Education(AICTE).  Consequent upon
conversion into NIT with deemed status and taken over as fully
funded institution under the Central Government vide notification
dated 14th May 2003, specific guidelines were formulated by MHRD
for CAS for faculty members of NITs wherein it was decided with the
approval   of   the   competent   authority   to   implement   Career
Advancement Scheme(CAS) in NITs for which the composition of the
Selection Committee had been revised and after approval of the
recommendations   of   the   Selection   Committee   by   the   Board   of
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Governors(BOGs)   of   the   NIT   concerned   by   Office   Memorandum
dated 15th September 2003, prescribed the service conditions of the
employees of the then RECs upon conversion as NITs with deemed
university status by later notification dated 9th November 2003.
19. At  this point  of  time, it will be appropriate  to clarify that
MHRD, on the recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission,
introduced schemes for revision of pay structure and re­designation
of   teachers   and   equivalent   cadres   in   universities   and   colleges
following   the   revision   of   pay   scales   of   Central   Government
employees vide its directive dated 31st December, 2008 but that is
not applicable to the NITs and for NITs, separate directives were
issued   by   the   MHRD   on   18th  August,   2009   addressed   to   all
Centrally Funded Technical Institutions and also to the IITs and the
scheme provides for revision of pay structure and re­designation of
teachers under 6th  Central Pay Commission to grant accelerated
promotional benefits of the scheme under para (2), which laid down
the conditions of eligibility for revision to AGP Rs.6000 to AGP
Rs.7000; AGP Rs.7000 to AGP Rs.8000 and AGP Rs.8000 to AGP
Rs.9000 and also re­designation as Associate Professor.  The extract
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of   MHRD   guidelines   dated   18th  August,   2009   relevant   for   the
purpose is reproduced as under:­ 
F. No. F.23—1/ 2008­TS.11
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
       Department of Higher Education
Technical Section­11
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi
Dated, the 18th August, 2009
To
The Director
All Centrally Funded Technical Institutions
Subject:   Revision   of   pay   of   teaching   and   other   Staff   in
Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) following the
pay revision of the Central Government employees on the
recommendation   of   the   6th  Central   Pay   Commission   (6th
CPC).
Sir,
I  am  directed   to say  that   the  Government   of   India  have
decided,   after   taking   into   consideration   the   recommendations
made by the Govardhan Mehta Committee, to revise the pay of
teaching and other staff of Centrally Funded Technical Institutions
following the pay revision of the Central Government employees on
the recommendation of 6th CPC.  The revised pay and other service
conditions   as   approved   by   the   Government   of   India   for   the
teaching and other staff in CFTIs are as under:­
1…
2.For Other Centrally Funded Technical Institutions
The   pay   structure   and   designations   for   all   other
Centrally Funded Technical Institutions will generally be  the
same as per the scheme of revision of pay of teachers, etc. in
15
Universities, etc. as notified by the Ministry of HRD vide letter
No.   1­32/2006­U.II/UI(i)   dated   31st  December,   2008   and
clarification   issued  thereon  from  time  to  time.    However,   in
the   case   of   National   Institutes   of   Technology(NITs),   Indian
School   of   Mines   University(ISMU),   Indian   Institutes   of
Information   Technology(IIITs)   and   Schools   of   Planning   &
Architecture(SPAs),   the   following   accelerated   promotional
benefits will be given while maintaining the UGC pay structure
and designations;
(a) Seven   non­compounded   advance   increments   shall   be
admissible   at   the   entry   level   of   recruitment   as   Assistant
Professor to persons possessing the degree of Ph.D awarded in
the relevant discipline.
(b) (i)An Assistant Professor possessing the degree of Ph.D in the
relevant discipline and with regular service of 3 years’ at AGP of
Rs. 6000/p.m. shall be eligible for moving to AGP of Rs. 7000/­
p.m.
(ii) An Assistant Professor possessing the degree of Ph.D in the
relevant discipline and with regular service of 3 years’ at AGP of
Rs.  7000/­  p.m.  shall be  eligible  for  moving  to  AGP  of  Rs.
8000/­ p.m.
(iii) An Assistant Professor possessing the degree of Ph.D in
the relevant discipline and with regular service of 3 years’
at  AGP  of  Rs.  8000/­  p.m.  shall  be  eligible  for  moving  to
AGP   of   Rs.9000/­   p.m.   and   re­designated   as   Associate
Professor.
(c) Associate Professor completing 4 years’ of regular service in the
AGP of Rs. 9000/­ and possessing a Ph.D degree in the relevant
discipline shall be eligible to be appointed and designated as
Professor, subject to other conditions of academic performance
as laid down by the UGC and by the university, if any.   No
teacher   other   than   those   with   a   Ph.D   shall   be   promoted,
appointed or designated as Professor.   The Pay Band for the
post   of   Professors   shall   be   Rs.   37400­67000   with   AGP   of
Rs.10000/­ p.m.
(d)Up to a maximum of 20% of the sanctioned post of Porfessors
shall be placed in PB­4 in the AGP of Rs.12000/­ p.m. after
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regular   service   of   6   years’   as   Professor   in   the   AGP   of   Rs.
10000/­ and the minimum pay in the Pay Band will be fixed at
Rs. 48000/­ p.m.   Other eligibility conditions will be as laid
down by the UGC.
(e) All promotions will be based on performance evaluation and
subject to fulfilment of other conditions laid down by MHRD
letter No. 1­32/2006­U.II/U.I(i) dated 31st December, 2008.
….”
20. To overcome the difficulties being faced on implementation of
the   revision   of   pay   structure   of   teachers   in   Centrally   Funded
Technical Institutions dated 18th August 2009, necessary guidelines
were  issued  by   the  MHRD  dated   14th  March,   2012  in   which   a
clarification was made that the guidelines provided by AICTE and
UGC are not applicable to NITs with a further specification that CAS
in NITs will be governed by guidelines and regulations defined by
MHRD and the council for NITs.   The extract of the guidelines
issued by MHRD dated 14th March, 2012 is reproduced below:­
“No. F.33—7/ 2011­TS.III
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Department of Higher Education
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi
Dated, the 14th March, 2012
To
The Directors
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Of all the National Institutes of Technology(NITs)
Subject: Promotion of faculty members of NITs under the
Career   Advancement   Scheme   (CAS)­   Issue   of   necessary
guidelines thereof­regarding.
Sir/Madam,
I am directed to refer to the various communications issued
by this Ministry on the rules and regulations for promotion under
Career Advancement  Scheme (CAS)  for faculty  members  of the
National Institutes of Technology (NITs).  The Ministry has received
a number of representations from the faculty members of the NITs
on the implementation of CAS.  The issue had also been discussed
in meetings of the Board of Governors (BOGs) of NITs, wherein
concerns have been expressed.
2. In   order   to   resolve   the   issue,   a   Committee   (under   the
Chairmanship of Prof. Sunil Kr. Sarangi, Director, NIT­Rourkela)
was   constituted   for   removal   of   pay   anomalies.     The   report
submitted by this Committee was examined in the Ministry.  It was
felt that instant issue was intricately linked with the Recruitment
Rules for faculty posts.
3. In   order   to   approach   the   instant   issue   from   a   holistic
prospective and in the back­drop of a need for Recruitment Rules,
it was considered necessary to examine these two issues afresh.
Accordingly,   a   Special   Committee   was   set   up   under   the
Chairmanship of Prof. Sarangi, Director, NIT­Rourkela vide this
Ministry’s   Order   F.No.   24­1/2010­TS.III   dated   27.07.2011   and
23.08.2011.  The Sarangi Committee after detailed examination of
the aforesaid issues submitted its report to Standing Committee of
the Council of NITs in its meeting held on 15.11.2011 under the
Chairmanship of Dr. RA Mashelkar.  The Council of NITs in its 3rd
meeting   held   on   18.11.2011   resolved   to   accept   the
recommendations of the Sarangi Committee for implementation of
CAS & Recruitment Rules of faculty in NITs, as modified by the
Standing Committee.
4. Subsequent   to   the   resolution   of   the   NIT   Council,
representations have been received in the Ministry from several
NITs   regarding   the   decisions   taken   for   removal   of   anomalies,
faculty   promotions,   condition   of   service,   etc.     These
representations   have   since   been   examined   in   the   Ministry   in
18
consultation with certain Chairpersons of the BOGs and Directors
of NITs.  After due deliberations, the following general and specific
guidelines are prescribed:
(a) career Advancement Scheme(CAS) is an integral part of a
rigid staff structure where the number of posts at any given level is
limited.   Such a scheme provides an avenue through which a
qualified employee climbs to the higher rung of the career ladder,
even if there is no vacancy.  It, however, will not be treated as mere
formality as the purpose of the scheme was for development of
merit and not eligibility based promotions.
(b) For a faculty member to gain advancement under CAS, he or
she must satisfy the approved criteria under three broad heads: (i)
a critical number of years in the lower level or designation and/or
AGP,   (ii)   cumulative   academic   performance   during   the   service
period   at   the   current   level   in   terms   of   teaching   and   research
output   as   well   as   sharing   institutional   responsibility,   and   (iii)
proficiency and knowledge in one’s chosen field of research and
teaching Superior record in all these three fronts qualifies a faculty
member for advancement to a higher level.
(c ) CAS   has   been   in   operation   in   institutions   under
guidelines   provided   by   AICTE   and   UGC.     It   is   clarified   that
those norms and procedures are not applicable to NITs.   CAS
in NITs will be governed by guidelines and regulations defined
by the Ministry of HRD and the Council of NITs.
(d)..
(e)..
(f) All recommendations of the Selection Committee shall take
effect only from the date of approval of the recommendations by
the Board or any later date as decided by the Board.  There shall
be no retrospective implementation of recommendations in any
case (either financial or notional).
(g) The constitution of the Selection Committee, the procedure
and criteria of selection shall be same for internal and external
candidates.  There shall not be a separate or special interview for
CAS   selection;   interviews   should   be   conducted   along   with
candidates for direct recruitment against vacancies, if any.
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(h)..
(i)…
(j)…
(k) Any  promotion   or   enhancement   of   Pay   Band   or   Grade
Pay,   already   implemented   by   the   institute   should   be   got
reviewed/examined   by   the   Board   by   a   duly   constituted
selection  committee   immediately.    Any   increment  paid  over
the   beginning   of   the   scale   of   Associate   Professor   to   those
Assistant  Professors  who  did  not  complete  3  years,   is  to  be
recovered from future pay.
(l) The   orders   issued   by   the   Ministry   following   the   6th
Central  Pay  Commission  provides  minimum  number  of  years
of service to go to higher AGP or a higher designation, e.g. 3
years   from   AGP   Rs.   6000/­   to   Rs.   7000/­   or   from   AGP   Rs.
7,000/­ to AGP Rs. 8,000/­ etc.  These are to be implemented
only through the formal selection process.  A formal Selection
Committee (as per the NIT Act, 2007 and the statutes of NITs)
must   examine   the   candidature   and   ensure   that   an
enhancement   is   recommended   on   the   strength   of   academic
contribution expected of a faculty member of an institution of
National Importance.
(m)…
(n) The eligibility criteria(number of years in lower AGP) should
be seen as necessary but not sufficient condition for upgradation
of AGP or change of designation.   Any upgradation can be done
only   on   recommendation   of   a   duly   constituted   Selections
Committee   after   formal   interview.     The   process   for   AGP
upgradation should be as serious and dignified as that for change
of   designation.     A   candidate   must   convince   the   Selection
Committee that he or she engaged in scholastic pursuits (teaching,
research and management) to deserve an upgradation after his/her
last advancement.
(o)…
(p)…
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(q) All   Institutes   shall   strive   to   conduct   annual   selection
processes regularly in case of Institutes that have not conducted
CAS interviews for 3 years or more.  Selection Committees may, as
a onetime measure, examine scholastic contribution of internal
candidates made after the last interview and recommend a salary
and   AGP   they   would   have   earned   now,   had   the   Selection
Committee met at the appropriate time.
(r )…
(s)….” (emphasis supplied)
21. It will be relevant to note that eligibility has been prescribed
under the relevant directives issued by MHRD dated 18th  August,
2009 followed by 14th  March, 2012 with a clear stipulation that
financial upgradation in terms of 6th Central Pay Commission shall
be extended co­terminus to the teacher, after going through the
formal selection process, in terms of the formation of the selection
committee provided under the Act, 2007 and the statutes of NITs to
examine   the   candidature   and   ensure   overall   suitability   of   the
teacher   on   fulfilment   of   the   relevant   conditions   for   grant   of
upgradation of pay/higher AGP/redesignation, as the case may be.
22. It is not disputed that each of the respondent teachers was
granted financial benefit of the AGP Rs.8000 in terms of MHRD
guidelines dated 14th  March, 2012 followed by 18th  March, 2013
based   on   the   recommendations   of   the   selection   committee
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constituted   followed   with   interview   and   approval   of   Board   of
Governors to the post of Lecturer(Selection Grade) vide Office order
dated 25th June, 2013 and 12th November, 2013 in the pay scale of
Rs. 12000­18300(corresponding to AGP Rs.8000 in 6th Central Pay
Commission).
23. But while placing in the higher pay band of Rs. 37400­67000
with AGP Rs.9000 and re­designation as Associate Professor, no
procedure   was   followed,   neither   selection   committee   was
constituted nor their suitability was adjudged and also there is no
approval of the Board of Governors which is the requirement of law
under the Act 2007.
24. The Director who is not even the authority competent under
the provisions of the Act, 2007 straightaway, on its own discretion,
without following the procedure prescribed by law, passed orders in
favour of each of the respondent teachers on mere completion of
three years’ service in the AGP Rs.8000 and placed them in the
higher pay band of Rs.37400­67000 with AGP Rs.9000 and redesignation of Associate Professor.  One of the specimens (copy of
the   order   passed   by   the   Director),   has   been   reproduced
22
hereinabove, which in itself, depicts that the Director, who is not
the authority competent under the Act, 2007 passed orders without
due   compliance   of   the   procedure   prescribed   under   the   Office
Memorandum dated 14th March, 2012 and that was the reason for
which   MHRD   declined   to   approve   such   appointments   by   its
communication dated 12th February 2018.
25. The statute was later enacted vide notification dated 23rd April,
2009 in exercise of powers under sub­section (1) of Section 26 of
the Act 2007.  Under Section 13(1)(d), the Board is the appointing
authority for the academic staff in the post of Lecturer or above.  At
the same time, the Central Government, with the prior approval of
the visitor, in exercise of power under sub­section (1) of Section 26
of the Act 2007, framed the first statute for NITs and Director, as an
Officer of the Institute, has been empowered under clause 17 of the
statute to employ teaching supporting staff and discharge all other
administrative functions delegated by the authority.
26. Indisputedly, under the present scheme of the Act 2007, the
first statute came to be introduced by notification dated 23rd April,
2009 followed by later amendments made vide notification dated
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21st  July, 2017.   The power for appointment of teacher is vested
only   with   the   Board   of   Governors   obviously   on   the
recommendations made by the selection committee.  In the present
scheme of the Act, 2007 of which a reference has been made, the
orders passed by the Director of placing the higher pay band of Rs.
37400­67000 with AGP Rs.9000 and re­designated as Associate
Professor to each of the respondent teachers cannot be said to be in
accordance with the procedure prescribed for CAS in terms of the
guidelines issued by MHRD dated 14th March, 2012 and 18th March,
2013 having not been followed by the Officer of the institution, i.e.
Director, in passing orders which were impugned before the High
Court that indeed cannot be approved by this Court.
27. The Division Bench of the High Court has proceeded on the
premise that after the Act, 2007 has come into force, MHRD is not
competent to issue circulars/guidelines of which a reference has
been made dated 14th March, 2012 and 18th March 2013, which is
completely misplaced for the reason that after the Act, 2007 came
into force, the appellant­institution was taken over by the Central
Government   and   being   fully   funded   institution   by   the   Central
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Government, the CAS was introduced by MHRD only for accelerated
promotion   and   was   not   in   contradistinction   to   the   scheme   for
appointment available to the teachers under the provisions of the
Act 2007.  At the same time, the respondent teachers were granted
the benefit of AGP Rs.8000 under the same guidelines issued by the
MHRD dated 14th  March, 2012 and 18th  March, 2013 that too on
the   recommendations   of   the   selection   committee   and   with   the
approval of the Board of Governors of NIT, Hamirpur, in the given
facts and circumstances, to hold that the benefits once availed
under the guidelines dated 14th March, 2012 and 18th March, 2013
by the respondent teachers while seeking revision of AGP Rs.8000,
the very scheme will not be applicable while considering for AGP
Rs.9000 and for re­designation as Associate Professor is otherwise
not sustainable in law.
28. The   Division   Bench   has   further   committed   an   error   in
recording a finding that since the statute pursuant to which the
eligibility   conditions   for   appointment   have   been   introduced   by
notification dated 21st  July, 2017 is prospective in character and
earlier   appointments   made   thereto   have   to   be   in   terms   of   the
25
guidelines   issued   by   MHRD   dated   31st  December   2008   for   the
reason   that   the   guidelines   issued   by   the   MHRD   dated   31st
December, 2008 are not applicable so far as the NITs are concerned
and this fact was clarified by the MHRD in its later guidelines dated
18th August, 2009 followed by 14th March, 2012 and this fact has
been completely overlooked by the Division Bench while placing
reliance on the guidelines dated 31st December, 2008.
29. We would like to observe that the guidelines issued by the
MHRD   from   time  to   time   for   revision   of   pay   structure  and   redesignation of the teachers in NITs are in the form of accelerated
promotions,   remain   co­terminus   with   the   person   and   are   not
related to post based promotions under the relevant recruitment
rules, however, such scheme is not available under the Act, 2007
and   after   the   amendment   notification   dated   21st  July,   2017,
Schedule ‘E’ has been appended in exercise of power under the
clause 23(5)(a) of the statute laying down the qualifications and
other terms and conditions of appointment of academic staff to be
made through open advertisement on the recommendations of the
26
selection   committee   until   exempted   under   the   scheme   of   these
rules.
30. To clarify it further, CAS scheme by its very nomenclature
called Career Advancement Scheme introduced for teachers like
Assured Career Progression Scheme (ACP), later called MACP for
Central   Government   employees   to   overcome   the   problem   of
stagnation and hardship faced due to lack of adequate promotion
avenues,   it   nowhere   tinker   with   the   conditions   of   eligibility   for
appointment to the cadre posts included in schedule ‘E’ annexed to
the statute pursuant to which qualifications and other terms and
conditions   of   appointment   of   academic   staff   are   included   vide
notification dated 21st July 2017.
31. Before parting with the judgment, we would like to observe
that since the respondent teachers are working in the AGP Rs.9000
pursuant to the orders though may not be legally sustainable but it
is not the case of the appellants that they are not eligible for AGP
Rs.9000 and for re­designation as Associate Professor.  In the given
facts and circumstances, we consider it appropriate to observe that
let the respondent teachers may continue for the time being and the
27
appellants   may   initiate   the   process   to   consider   the   respondent
teachers for pay band of Rs. 37400­67000 with AGP Rs.9000 and
for re­designation as Associate Professor in terms of the guidelines
dated 14th March, 2012 and 18th March 2013.  Such exercise may
be undertaken within a period of four months and further course of
action   may   be   taken   in   terms   of   the   recommendations   of   the
selection   committee   and   if   they   are   found   suitable,   benefits   be
granted from the date of their suitability being adjudged and any of
the respondent teachers, if aggrieved by the recommendations made
by the selection committee/approval by the BOG, will be at liberty
to avail such remedy which the law permits.
32. The appeals accordingly succeed and are hereby allowed with
the above observations and the judgment passed by the Division
Bench dated 31st July, 2018 is hereby set aside.  No costs.
33. Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.
        ………………………J.
 (AJAY RASTOGI)
………………………J.
28
 (ABHAY S. OKA)
NEW DELHI
MARCH 30, 2022
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