Principals are teaching staff, to retire at 65 years of age: Patna HC | Patna News

PATNA: The Patna high court has ruled that principals are teaching staff as defined in the Bihar State Universities (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2012 and Patna University (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2012. It also ruled that all those principals who were forced to retire at the age of 62 between 2012 and 2017, be deemed to have continued on the post of principal till they attained the age of 65 years. They shall be entitled to all consequential benefits, including pay and emoluments, as well as continuity in service, the court ruled.
A bench of Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah, in the judgment delivered on October 8, has also directed that the recoveries made from certain persons by the authorities concerned be returned forthwith.
The petitioner principals had to wait for at least four years for the final judgement as the court, on April 2, 2018, had observed that arguments were concluded and listed matter under the heading ‘For Orders’ on April 9, 2018.
A battery of lawyers, including senior counsels Jitendra Singh, PK Shahi, Mahesh Narayan Parbat with Harsh Singh, Abhinav Srivastava, Raushan and Namrata Mishra represented the petitioners in the case.
The order, which came in the public domain on Sunday evening, brought major relief to more than 20 principals who were superannuated on attaining the age of 62 years by May 18, 2017, instead of actual retirement age of 65 years, as they were considered the non-teaching staff.
The Bihar State Universities Act, 1976 was amended and the 2012 Act was brought into force in which the word principal was absent from the definition of teacher. The Act was deemed to have come into effect from October 5, 1991, the day when UGC Regulations 1991 came into force.
“Teacher” means person holding the post of only university professor/professor, reader and lecturer and such sanctioned posts in the teachers grade on the basis of regulations issued by the UGC from time to time,” the definition reads.
Amendments were made again and Bihar State University (Amendment) Act, 2017 was enacted and came into force on May 18, 2017 with ‘the word ‘principal’ inserted again for clarity. The same follow-up changes were made in the Patna University (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2012 and then in the Patna University (Amendment) Act, 2017.
The petitioners’ counsels had extensively argued that the amendments in 2012 were made in order to synchronise the Acts with UGC guidelines of 1991 and further amendment in 2017 was made for clarity. They also submitted that the state government nowhere had made any cabinet decision or passed any other order declaring principals as non-teaching staff.
The education department authorities had communicated to the university authorities that those principals who had attained or exceeded 62 years age on May 18, 2017 would stand relieved, assuming that they were non-teaching staff from 2012 to 2017.
Following this, the affected principals moved the high court in 2017 for setting aside of the education department’s order.

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