Supreme Court of India
Md. Ali Imam vs The State Of Bihar Thr. Its Chief … on 4 February, 2020Author: Sanjay Kishan Kaul
Bench: Sanjay Kishan Kaul, K.M. Joseph
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.990-992/2020
[@ SLP [C] NOS.18577-18579/2018]
MD. ALI IMAM & ORS.ETC.ETC. Appellant(s)
THE STATE OF BIHAR
THR. ITS CHIEF SECRETARY & ORS. Respondent(s)
CIVIL APPEAL NO.993/2020
[@ SLP(C) No.20783/2018 (XVI)]
CIVIL APPEAL NO.994/2020
[@ SLP(C) No.26881/2018 (XVI)]
J U D G M E N T
SANJAY KISHAN KAUL, J.
2. The appellants before us are the retired teaching and non-
teaching employees of the deficit grant minority colleges of the
State of Bihar who are aggrieved by what is alleged to be
unreasonable and arbitrary discrimination between such of them who
retired before 31.08.2010, as against those who retired after that
date, for the grant of benefit of the amendment made to the Triple
Signature Not Verified
Digitally signed by
We may, at the inception, first note that the appellants
before us have impleaded not only the State of Bihar but also the
concerned Universities being respondent Nos.3 to 8 since they are
affiliated to these Universities. The universities are also
distinct from an aided institution in as much as when, in their
planned expenditure there is some amount of deficit, the Government
makes up the deficit as a matter of assistance to education. It is
in this background that the controversy has to be analyzed by us.
4. The story starts from 05.11.1980 when resolution No.1500 was
passed by the Government of Bihar introducing the General Provident
Fund-cum-pension-cum-gratuity benefit (Triple Benefit Scheme) which
came into effect as on 01.04.1978. The Chancellor vide memo dated
18.11.1980 approved the statute for grant of benefit of Triple
Benefit Scheme. The Amendment to the statute was made on
5. It was in the year 1998 that a representation was made
requesting for the benefit of the Scheme to be extended to
employees in such deficit colleges. This resulted in some
communications and enquiry and it was only on 18.01.2011 that a
resolution was passed extending the Triple Benefit Scheme to the
deficit colleges. The relevant clauses of this which have been
assailed in the present proceedings are as under:
“(i) xxx xxx
(ii) This amendment statute will not be applicable to
such teaching and non-teaching staffs who retired before
the amendment of statute.
(ii) xxx xxx
(iii) xxx xxx
(iv) xxx xxx
(v) xxx xxx
(vi) This scheme will be applicable from the date of
amendment in statute.”
6. We may note at this stage itself that the extension of the
Scheme to the employees was in the nature of a benefit being
extended to the employees, and did not form part of their original
terms and conditions of employment. The Amendment came into being
on 15.01.2014 but provided for a cut-off date of 31.08.2010. The
rationale of this is stated to be that the Cabinet took the
decision on that date, and thus, the Amendment was not made
applicable from the date it was carried out but from a
retrospective date, giving benefits for that period on the premise
of the Cabinet decision, to those who were in service on that date.
We may also note another aspect that all these resolutions and
decisions have a financial implication and thus, some leeway has to
be provided to the Government in deciding as to the extent to which
they can make funds available and that too for such a beneficial
aspect, keeping in mind these are not constituent unit colleges.
7. The endeavour of the appellant was not successful before the
Division Bench of the Patna High Court which dismissed the writ
petition filed by them vide impugned order dated 8.11.2017.
8. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at some length
and the plea on behalf of the appellants is based on a
discriminative practice and the cut-off dates being so provided,
which according to the submissions of learned counsel for the
appellant(s) are in violation of the principles of law laid down by
this Court in D.S. Nakara & Ors. v. Union of India1.
9. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondents have
pointed out that much water flowed after that judgment and, inter
alia, invited our attention to the judgment in State of West Bengal
& Ors. v. Ratan Behari Dey & Ors.2 (referred to in the impugned
judgment itself) opining that it is open to the State or the
Corporation to change the conditions of service unilaterally, and
terminal benefits as well as pensionary benefits constitute
conditions of service. Thus, the power to revise salaries and/or
pay scales, as also terminal benefits/pensioners’ benefit can be
made as a concomitant of that power so long as the date is
specified in a reasonable manner.
10. If we see the rationale of the impugned judgment as set out
para 29 onwards, we may notice that the same is predicated on the
absence of arbitrariness in the applicability of the cut-off date
of the amendment in the Triple Benefit Scheme statute as well as
the rationality behind it based on the date of the Cabinet decision
granting Triple Benefit Scheme to such deficit grant colleges. We
cannot find any fault with the reasoning in the impugned order.
11. We must notice that firstly there was really no obligation for
exercise of powers of the Government or University in the absence
of the institutions being not constituent colleges, but only
affiliated colleges. In order to support education, a decision was
taken to provide deficit financing. There was again no requirement
that the Triple Benefit Scheme ought to be extended to the
1 (1983) 1 SCC 305
2 (1993) 4 SCC 62
employees of these colleges and was not so initially extended. A
second step was taken in this direction by extending the scheme.
The third step was the Amendment of the Scheme. It can hardly be
said that by taking these beneficial steps, the State Government is
not liable to take into consideration the financial implications of
the same, and that the benefits should be extended across the
board. The amendments could have, in fact, been implemented
prospectively, but were given part-retrospective effect based on
the rationale of the date of the Cabinet decision.
12. Apart from this, there may be other considerations in the mind
of the Executive authority while fixing a particular date i.e.
economic conditions, financial constraints, administrative and
other circumstances, and if no reason is forthcoming from the
executive for fixation of a particular date, it should not be
interfered with by the Court unless the cut-off date leads to some
blatantly capricious or outrageous result. In such cases it has
been opined that there must be exercise of judicial restraint and
such matters ought to be left to the Executive authorities, to fix
the cut-off date, and the Government thus, must be left with some
leeway and free play at the joints in this connection. Even if no
particular reasons are given for the cut-off date by the
Government, the choice of cut-off date cannot be held to be
arbitrary (unless it is shown to be totally capricious or
whimsical)- Government of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. v. N. Subbarayudu &
3 (2008) 14 SCC 702
13. We are thus of the view that the impugned judgment deserves
our imprimatur and these appeals are dismissed, leaving the parties
to bear their own costs.
[SANJAY KISHAN KAUL]
FEBRUARY 04, 2020.
ITEM NO.4 COURT NO.12 SECTION XVI
S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 18577-
(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 08-11-2017
in CWJC No. 17286/2011, CWJC No. 12376/2014 and CWJC No. 8414/2017
passed by the High Court Of Judicature At Patna)
MD. ALI IMAM & ORS. Petitioner(s)
THE STATE OF BIHAR THR. ITS CHIEF SECRETARY & ORS. Respondent(s)
SLP(C) No. 20783/2018 (XVI)
IA No. 98802/2018 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING C/C OF THE IMPUGNED
IA No. 98804/2018 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING O.T.)
SLP(C) No. 26881/2018 (XVI)
( IA No.135146/2018-CONDONATION OF DELAY IN FILING and IA
No.135151/2018-EXEMPTION FROM FILING C/C OF THE IMPUGNED JUDGMENT
and IA No.135150/2018-EXEMPTION FROM FILING O.T.)
Date : 04-02-2020 These petitions were called on for hearing today.
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJAY KISHAN KAUL
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE K.M. JOSEPH
For Petitioner(s) Mr. S.B. Upadhayay, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Neeraj Shekhar, AOR
Mr. Sumit Kumar, Adv.
Mr. Rana Prashant, Adv.
Mr. Heyshiv Parasher, Adv.
For Respondent(s) Mr. Saket Singh, Adv.
Mrs. Niranjana Singh, AOR
Mr. Rohit K. Singh, AOR
UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
O R D E R
Delay condoned in SLP [C] No.26881/2018.
The appeals are dismissed in terms of the signed order.
Pending applications stand disposed of.
(ASHA SUNDRIYAL) (ANITA RANI AHUJA)
AR cum PS COURT MASTER
[signed order is placed on the file]