(Prayer : Appeal filed under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent Appeal against the order dated 17.03.2014 passed by this Court in W.P. (MD)No.3837 of 2014.
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M. Sathyanarayanan, J.
1. By consent, both the Writ Appeals are taken up for final hearing and disposed of by this common judgment.
2. The respondents/writ petitioners had filed W.P.(MD)Nos.3836 and 3837 of 2014 praying for issuance of writs of Mandamus directing the official respondents/appellants herein to extend the benefits of the Government Orders in G.O.Ms.No.210, School Education (G1) Department, dated 14.08.2009 and G.O.Ms.No.190, School Education (G1) Department, dated 12.07.2010 in their favour and with further direction directing them to count the service rendered by them before 01.06.1988 as Secondary Grade Teacher and Elementary School Headmaster for the purpose of fixation of Selection Grade/Special Grade scale of pay in the post of Middle School Graduate Headmaster and further to grant arrears of pay to the petitioners.
3. The learned Single Judge, after taking note of the similar orders passed by the Division Bench of this Court, dated 07.07.2011 in W.A.No.815 of 2010, etc.,, followed by the order of a Single Bench, dated 28.10.2013 passed in W.P.(MD)No.15020 of 2012 etc., had allowed the writ petitions and challenging the said common order, the present writ appeals have been filed.
4. The learned Special Government Pleader appearing for the appellants made a vehement and forceful submission by drawing the attention of this Court to the facts and circumstances of the case and would submit that admittedly, the respondents/writ petitioners have retired from service on 30.06.2007 and 28.02.2007 respectively and having waited on the sidelines, they have filed the writ petitions only during the month of January 2014 and assuming for the sake of arguments, they are entitled to the benefits of various orders passed by this Court, they have belatedly approached this Court nearly after seven years from the date of their retirement and this Court may pass appropriate orders by granting them only the notional benefits and not the actual payment in terms of arrears etc.
5. The learned Special Government Pleader has also invited the attention of this Court to the judgment rendered by the Full Bench of this Court in Government of Tamil Nadu represented by the Secretary School Education Department, Fort St. George, Chennai-600 009 and Others Vs. G.Eswaran and Others reported in (2017)2 MLJ 257(FB) and would submit that with regard to the re-fixation of scale of pay in Selection Grade/Special Grade as well as to the payment of arrears, this Court has taken into consideration G.O.Ms.No.216, Finance (PC) Department, dated 22.03.1993 and in paragraph No.38, has fixed the cut-off date as 01.03.2017 and since the payment of arrears would come to nearly Rupees Six Crores and add, and considering the financial difficulties faced by the Government in view of the present COVID-19 pandemic virus, this Court may pass appropriate orders to fix the cut-off date at least from the date of filing of the writ petition, with a further direction to the Government to confer only notional benefits and not the actual benefits and hence, prays for appropriate orders.
6. Per contra, the learned Counsel appearing for the private respondents had drawn the attention of this Court to the common judgment passed by the Division Bench of this Court, dated 03.01.2019, in W.A.No.34 of 2017 etc., batch cases [The Secretary to Government, School Education Department, Fort St., George, Chennai-600 009 and Others Vs.S.Stanislaus] and would submit that the respondents/writ petitioners therein had filed the writ petitions seeking writs of Mandamus to extend the benefits of the very same G.O.Ms.No.210, School Education (G1) Department, dated 14.08.2009 and the said writ petitions were entertained and allowed and challenging the same, the official respondents had filed the said batch of writ appeals and during the course of arguments, the point now pleaded by the learned Special Government Pleader has also been pleaded as to the delay and laches and the conferment of the benefits in terms of common law and the said contention is repelled in paragraph No.8 of the said judgment and this Court had dismissed the writ appeals with a further direction, directing the official respondents therein to fix the pay in the Selection Grade/Special Grade, within a period of four weeks and disburse the arrears of salary and differential pension and as no further challenge has been made to the said judgment, it is not open to the learned Special Government Pleader to plead before this Court to take a contra stand and hence, prays for dismissal of these writ appeals.
7. This Court has carefully considered the rival submissions and perused the materials placed on record.
8. This Court, on more than one occasion, has pointed out the practice adopted by the School Education Department as to the running of its affairs/administration virtually based on Government Orders/Administrative instructions and though it is open to them to bring in place a comprehensive Legislation, for the reasons best known to them, they have not done so, have to face the consequences of adopting such kind of practice/proceedings. As rightly pointed out by the learned Counsel appearing for the respondents/writ petitioners that the similar prayer made by the respondents/writ petitioners in W.A.No.34 of 2017 etc., batch cases (stated supra) had been decided in their favour.
9. No doubt, the respondents/petitioners had belatedly approached this Court, however, the said point was specifically taken and answered by the Division Bench of this Court in the above cited judgment, dated 03.01.2019 in W.A.No.34 of 2017 etc., batch cases, in paragraph No.8.
10. It is also to be noted at this juncture that no challenge has been made to the said common judgment dated 03.01.2019 in W.A.No.34 of 2017 etc., batch cases and it has become final.
11. This Court, being a Co-ordinate Bench, unless finds that the said judgment had not taken into consideration the legal position as well as the judgments of the Honourable Apex Court, it cannot take a different stand and the judicial discipline and decorum also require not to do so.<
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br /> 12. In the result, the Writ Appeals are dismissed, confirming the common order dated 17.03.2014 made in W.P.(MD)Nos.3836 and 3837 of 2014. The appellants/official respondents are directed to comply with the common order, dated 17.03.2014, passed in the writ petitions in W.P.(MD)Nos.3836 and 3837 of 2014, as confirmed vide judgment passed in these writ appeals, within a period of twelve weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and communicate the decision taken to the respective respondents/writ petitioners. However, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs. Consequently, the connected Civil Miscellaneous Petitions are also dismissed.