HC directs Cluster University to release salary of 3 Professors having served as Deans

High court of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar branch. [Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir]
High court of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar branch. [Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir]

Srinagar, Dec 11: High Court of J&K and Ladakh has directed the Government and Cluster University Srinagar to release salaries of three professors for the period they have performed their duties beyond their retirement as Deans in various disciplines of the varsity.

A bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed the authorities of the Cluster University and J&K’s Higher Education Department to release the salaries of petitioners- Prof Muhammad Aslam Baba, Prof Ghulam Muhammad Tibatbaqal and Prof Maqssoda Khan for the period they have performed their duties beyond their retirement having regard to the order issued by the varsity on April 3, 2018 and a communication by higher education department addressed to the Registrar, Cluster University on 17.09.2019.

Senior advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir on behalf of the petitioners argued that the petitioners cannot be forced to trail of sufferings merely for the reason that the issue was yet to be brought before the Cluster University Council to ratify the continuation of the professors after their superannuation.

“Petitioners have performed their duties and are entitled to salary,” he said.

It is for the respondents (authorities), the court said, to convene the meeting of the Cluster University Council and seek its approval in terms of Statute 3.9 of the University.

“In case the matter is not placed before the Cluster University Council for accord of necessary approval within a period of one month from the date a certified copy of this order is served upon the respondents, the same shall be deemed to have been granted and the petitioners shall be released their withheld salaries immediately and forthwith, preferably within next four weeks”, it said.

The three petitioners who were working as Professors in different disciplines in the Department of Higher Education were vide a government order dated 18.10.2017 along with few other Professors of Higher Education Department transferred on deputation and adjusted as Deans of various disciplines in Cluster University, Srinagar.

They performed their duties as such in the Cluster University till they attained the superannuation on 31 January 31 March and 31 May in 2018.

Since the University was in continued need of services of these officers, accordingly after other required formalities were fulfilled , the Registrar, Cluster University, Srinagar, accorded sanction for the continuation of the petitioners as Dean Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Dean Faculty of Science and Dean Faculty of Social Sciences beyond their superannuation till 17 October, 2019.

They were, however, not paid the salary for this period on the ground that their continuation after their retirement was required to be approved by the Cluster University Council.

It is abundantly clear, the court said, that the petitioners have been continued beyond their superannuation till 17 October, 2019 as per the orders passed by the Cluster University.

“Therefore, there could be no reason or justification to deny them the salary for the period they have performed their duties beyond their superannuation, that too pursuant to the orders passed by the competent authority,” it said.

“The engagement of petitioners as Dean in their respective disciplines beyond their retirement has been ordered by none other than the Registrar, Cluster University, Srinagar, and this was later approved by the Department of Higher Education as well, laying down the mode and manner in which the petitioners were to be paid their salary,” court said.

Pointing out that the petitioners have performed their duties and they are entitled to salary, the court said: “The approval of the Cluster University Council, if at all is required, is the responsibility of the respondents and the petitioners have nothing to do with it”.

The court however said: “Whether the continuation of the petitioners beyond their superannuation is to be taken as extension in service or is to be treated as fresh employment is not a question which would require consideration at this stage”.

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