Inter-Se Seniority Of Primary Teachers Appointed By Zila Parishad Will Be Determined U/s. 439 Of MMC Act: SC
The Supreme Court has observed that inter-se seniority of the appellant- the primary teachers who were appointed in the Zila Parishad and were later on absorbed into Pune Municipal Corporation would be determined under Section 439 read with Clause (5) of Appendix IV of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, 1949 (MMC Act).
The Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice J.K. Maheshwari observed that "There is no dispute regarding the fact that Clause 5(c), including its first proviso, occupies this field of law till date. The provision explicitly deals with protection of conditions of service of the officers and servants who were earlier employed in a local authority like a ZP, and who have been subsequently absorbed into a Municipal Corporation. It expressly protects their service rendered by them in the local authority before the appointed day and further provides that it shall be considered as service rendered in the Municipal Corporation itself. Given the existence of this unambiguous provision, the only logical conclusion is that the service rendered by Respondent Nos. 5 to 79 in the ZP has to be treated as service rendered in the PMC. Such service, therefore, has to be counted towards the determination of their seniority as well."
Senior Advocate Vinay Navare appeared for the appellant and Advocate Abhay Anil Anurak appeared for the respondents.
In this case, the Appellant Association, which represented those primary teachers who had been recruited directly by the PMC and whose seniority was adversely affected by the inclusion of the period spent by respondent in ZP towards their seniority after absorption into the PMC, had filed the appeal before the Apex Court.
The State of Maharashtra exercised its power under Section 3(1) of the MMC Act and decided to expand the territorial limits of the PMC and 38 villages of Pune ZP were merged into PMC. A Government Resolution was passed, which provided that the services rendered by teachers in a ZP should be taken into consideration when fixing pay, seniority, retiral benefits etc. on their permanent transfer to Municipalities.
Dispute arose in respect to fixation of inter se seniority between the teachers who were initially recruited in the ZP and were later absorbed into the PMC, as opposed to the primary teachers who had been part of the services of the PMC from the very beginning. A committee of 5 officers of PMC was constituted for considering the objection raised by the respondents. The Committee recommended that the service rendered by respondent in their roles within the ZP stood excluded from the length of their total service.
Aggrieved of it the respondent approached the Bombay High Court, and the High Court allowed the Writ Petition. Against the order of the High Court, the appellants approached the Apex Court.
The issue dealt with was-
Whether the inter se seniority of the primary teachers who were appointed in the ZP and were later on absorbed into PMC, visà-vis those primary teachers who directly joined PMC, was to be determined in accordance with Section 3(3)(b) of the MMC Act or should such inter se seniority be determined in accordance with Section 493 read with Clause (5) of Appendix IV of the MMC Act.
The Apex Court noted that the purpose of Section 3(3)(b) of the MMC Act was to ensure that any statutory or administrative decision which had already been enforced by a Municipal Corporation in its existing larger urban area should stay in force and would become applicable automatically in the newly added area also and the expression ‘appointments’ must be understood in this context only.
Further, the Apex Court said that the Clause 5 (c) of Appendix (IV) read with Section 439 of MMC Act provided with protection of conditions of service of the officers and servants who were earlier employed in a local authority like a ZP, and who have been subsequently absorbed into a Municipal Corporation.
Therefore, "...the service rendered by Respondent Nos. 5 to 79 in the ZP is consistent and unbroken and it remains in existence even after their absorption into the PMC as a result of the statutory protection embodied under Clause (5) of Appendix (IV) read with Section 493 of the MMC Act." the Court observed.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.
Cause Title- Maharashtra Rajya Padvidhar Prathamik Shikshak Va Kendra Pramukh Sabha v. Pune Municipal Corporation and Ors.