(Appeal filed under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent, against the order dated 29.9.2004 made in W.P.No.18702 of 1996.)
D. Murugesan, J.
This writ appeal is directed at the instance of the Director of School Education and the District Educational Officer, Tiruvannamalai against the order in W.P.No.18702 of 1996 dated 29.9.2004.
2. The factual matrix of the case is as follows:-
The first respondent acquired the degree in Bachelor of Literature (Tamil) and on the basis of the said qualification, he was appointed in the second respondent-school as Grade-I Tamil Pandit on 26.6.75. Thereafter, he passed his M.A. Degree in the year 1984, B.Ed., in the year 1985 and M.Ed., in the year 1988. On the basis of the Government Orders in vogue, he was granted two incentive increments for acquiring the M.A. Degree in the year 1984 and thereafter, further two increments for his B.Ed., Degree obtained in the year 1985.
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Thereafter, a further request for payment of two more incentive increments for acquiring the M.Ed. Degree was made through the Correspondent of the school in letter dated 12.9.96. The said request was negative by the District Educational Officer, Tiruvannamalai in his proceedings dated 21.11.96 on the ground that in terms of the G.O.Ms.No.107, Education Department dated 20.1.76, a Tamil pandit on his obtaining subsequent higher qualification would be entitled to only 2+2 advance increments i.e., in all, four increments only. As the first respondent had already availed the benefit of two incentive increments for M.A. Degree and two more incentive increments for B.Ed. Degree, he is not entitled for any further increments. The said order was questioned by the first respondent/Tamil pandit in the writ petition. By order dated 29.9.2004, the claim of the first respondent was accepted and therefore the writ petition was allowed with a direction that he is entitled to two more incentive increments for acquiring the M.Ed. Degree. The said order in the writ petition is put in issue by the Director of School Education and the District Educational Officer, Tiruvannamalai in this appeal. 3. Mr. P. Subramanian, learned Government Advocate appearing for the appellants has submitted that in terms of G.O.Ms.No.107, Education Department dated 20.1.76, a Tamil pandit who was appointed on the strength of B.Litt. Degree is not entitled to any further advance incentive increments, as he is entitled to only two advance increments for M.A. Degree and two more advance increments for M.Ed. Degree and not more than that. Hence the learned single Judge by placing reliance on the G.O.Ms.No.1023, Education, Science and Technology Department dated 9.12.93 directing the appellants to pay two more increments to the first respondent is not correct.4. We have heard Mr. J. Selvarajan, learned counsel for the first respondent.5. It is true that by G.O.Ms.No.107, Education Department dated 20.1.76, Grade-I Tamil pandits possessing B.A., or B.O.L., Degree can be appointed only if they have passed B.T. As they possess B.T., there was no incentive increments admissible to such Tamil pandits for passing B.T., and therefore such Tamil pandits are only entitled for two incentive increments for passing M.A., and two more for passing M.Ed. Our attention was drawn to the order of the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal made in a batch of Original Applications, namely, O.A.Nos.3193 of 1991 etc., and by order dated 4.2.94, the Tribunal, after following the orders passed in O.A.Nos.1417 to 1421 of 1993 dated 30.11.93, found that when two more advance increments are available for a Tamil pandit working in Secondary Grade post, why such a benefit should be denied to a Tamil pandit working in Grade-I after obtaining B.Litt., Degree. By holding so, the provisions for sanction of increments in item (2) of the G.O.Ms.42 dated 10.1.69 and in G.O.Ms.No.107 Education dated 20.1.76 were set aside. It is the contention of the learned counsel for the first respondent that the order of the Tribunal in setting aside the G.O.Ms.No.107 Education dated 20.1.76 has not been questioned by the State and therefore it has become final. The learned counsel in fact submitted that the orders of the Tribunal were implemented in respect of number of Tamil pandits who are similarly placed like that of the first respondent and therefore it is not correct to question the order of the learned single Judge only in the case of the first respondent. In fact he produced an order of sanction made by the proceedings of the Headmaster of Kilpennathur Government Higher Secondary School, Tiruvannamalai dated 20.2.94 giving the benefit of the two more incentive increments in addition to the four increments already granted to the teacher.6. We have also perused the G.O.Ms.No.107 Education dated 20.1.76, whereby the two increments for passing M.A. Degree and two more increments for passing M.Ed. Degree are made admissible for B.T. Tamil pandit, as no increments were made available for such of those Tamil pandits who possessed B.T. Qualification. On the other hand, it is not in dispute that a Tamil pandit who is appointed as Grade-II namely, Secondary Grade teacher is made eligible for two advance increments for the qualification of B.T., and thereafter four advance increments in all for the higher qualifications. Such being the admitted position, the learned counsel for the first respondent is justified in contending that the discrimination of the Grade-I and Grade-II Tamil pandits who are performing the same duties only for the purpose of entitlement of the advance increments is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. That apart, we have also gone through the G.O.Ms.No.1023 Education, Science and Technology Department dated 9.12.93. It appears that this Court in W.P.No.5191 of 1986 by order dated 11.10.88, while considering a similar situation had observed as follows:-"There is no dispute that G.O.Ms.No.42, Education Department dated 10.1.1969, must apparently govern the question of award of the two incentive increments for the petitioner acquiring M.Ed. Degree from 1987. But what is put against the petitioner in letter Ms.No.590, Education, dated 29.3.1976, where a limitation is prescribed that there could be only four advance increments for acquiring higher qualification. Certainly this letter cannot override the Government Order, referred to above. Practically the impugned order refers to and relies up on this letter alone and that is not permissible. Accordingly, the writ petition is allowed."7. By the said direction, this Court had in fact recognized a total of six incentive increments. In obedience to the said direction of this Court, the above Government Order was issued and in paragraph-4 of the Government Order, it is stated as follows:-"4. Accordingly, the Government direct that Secondary Grade Teachers who got 2 advance increments for B.T. or B.Ed. qualification in the Secondary Grade posts and then 2 advance increments for M.A. or M.Sc. qualification in the post of B.T. Assistant shall be eligible for 2 more advance increments if they have already obtained the M.Ed., qualification in the post of B.T. Assistant. This connection shall be admissible only to the past cases i.e., to those who have already obtained the above qualification prior to the date of issue of these orders. In future, the maximum number of advance increments admissible to a Teacher for obtaining higher qualification under the orders first read above shall be four only."8. A perusal of the said paragraph-4 shows that a Secondary Grade Teacher with B.T., or B.Ed., qualification in the Secondary Grade post is entitled for two advance increments in addition to four advance increments for M.A., and M.Ed., qualification. This Government Order is made applicable for all those who are serving as Tamil pandits, of course, as Secondary Grade Teacher. In that view of the matter, if a benefit could be extended to a Secondary Grade Teacher working as Grade-II Tamil pandit, why the same benefit should not be extended to a Grade-I Tamil pandit who is also performing the same duty, of course, after obtaining B.Litt. Degree. In fact in G.O.Ms.No.1024 Education, Science and Technology Department dated 9.12.93, though an amendment is sought to be brought to clarify that the teachers would be entitled upto a maximum of four advance increments, the Government Order is categorical in stating that those orders shall take effect from the date of issue i.e., 9.12.93 and therefore the said Government Order cannot be considered to be made applicable for the previous cases.9. Factually, in this case, the first respondent was not granted any incentive increments for B.Litt., as he was only granted two advance increments for M.A., obtained during the year 1984 and for B.Ed., obtained in the year 1985. As we have held that the denial of two more advance increments to the first respondent for acquiring M.Ed., Degree would amount to discrimination, while such a benefit is extended to a Tamil pandit appointed in the Secondary Grade post, we find no merit to interfere with the order of the learned single Judge. Accordingly, the writ appeal fails and the first respondent is entitled to succeed for the grant of two incentive increments for acquiring M.Ed., degree. The appellants are directed to sanction the said two advance increments to the first respondent within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. With the above direction, the writ appeal is dismissed. Consequently, W.A.M.P.No.1167 of 2005 is also dismissed. No costs.