While observing that under the Merit Promotion Scheme (MPS) the appellants were only granted financial upgradation and coupled with certain other benefits, however were not considered as “Teachers” for the purpose of superannuation, the Delhi High Court clarified that the Executive Council (EC) of Delhi University (DU) consciously did not equate the post of DPE with that of a “Teacher” and categorized the Director of Physical Education (DPE) along with the Registrar and Librarian which are clearly not “Teachers”.

Placing reliance upon the judgment of the Division Bench of this Court in Jitendra Singh Naruka vs. Delhi University and Ors [2016 SCC OnLine Del 5893], the Division Bench presided by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Tushar Rao Gedela reiterated that “Referring to the teaching positions stipulated in Ordinance XI, and by applying the principle of harmonious construction and the precept that a special provision would override a general clause, we are of the opinion that, Ordinance XXVII would be applicable and Directors of Physical Education cannot place reliance on Ordinance XI. The petitioner cannot be singled out, and given the benefit by being treated as a teacher”.

Advocate Sunil J. Mathews appeared for the Appellants, whereas, Advocate Mohinder J.S. Rupal appeared for the Respondents.

In a brief background, a notification was issued by the Ministry of Human Resources in 2008 increasing the age of 62 to 65 years of ‘Associate Professors/Assistant Professors for superannuation. However, the Appellants were made to retire at the age of 62. This was challenged before the High Court but was dismissed on the ground that the post of DPE cannot be regarded as ‘Teachers’ as mentioned in MPS. The Appellants contended that power of their appointments lies with the EC of the DU, and vide an order made in 1990 by the Delhi University, the post of DPE was redesignated as a Lecturer, which is synonymous with the nomenclature of Associate Professor.

After considering the submission, the High Court referred to the decision in the case of Kanchan Saini vs. University of Delhi & Ors [2019 SCC OnLine Del 11984], wherein it was held that “the Government consciously granted revision of pay even to Librarians and Directors of Physical Education, as granted to teachers engaged in classroom teaching in respect of subjects of higher learning and technical education, even though the age of superannuation of Librarians and Directors of Physical Education was not raised from 62 years to 65 years”.

Thus, the High Court reiterated that the aspect of age enhancement for superannuation, and pay revision were treated separately.

The Bench further referred to the decision of Krishan Gopal and Ors vs. Union of India and Ors [2015 SCC OnLine Del 7385] wherein it was observed that “there is no parity between Library and Physical Educational Personnel on the one hand and Assistant Professor/Associate Professor/Professor on the other hand, claim of enhancement of age of superannuation of Library and Physical and Educational Personnel from 62 to 65 years is not justified”.

Hence, the High Court dismissed the petition while directing the Respondents not to recover the salary/allowances received by one of the Appellants from the age of 62 to 65, as she had continued services vide an interim order in 2019.

Cause title: Sudhir Kumar Taneja v. University of Delhi and Ors. [Neutral Citation Number 2023: DHC: 3537-DB]

Click here to read/download Judgment