Taking up a petition alleging that Panjab University (PU) has failed to implement the central government’s composite scheme of 2008 enhancing the retirement age from 60 to 65 despite it being funded by the Centre to the extent of 92%, the Punjab and Haryana high court has sought reply from the varsity as well as the union ministry of human resource development (MHRD).
The petition filed by Amar Nath Gill, professor at PU’s department of statistics, came up for hearing before the vacation court headed by justice Rajive Bhalla on Monday.
The petitioner informed the court that he would be retired by the varsity on June 30 by wrongly taking the superannuation age as 60 instead of 65 as mandated under the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations, 2010, which were binding on the university. Taking note of the petitioner’s grievances, the court issued notices regarding stay to the varsity as well as the MHRD for June 30.
The court was requested to issue directions to the authorities concerned to allow the petitioner to continue in service up to the age of 65 with all consequential benefits as per the PU’s own decision to adopt and implement the UGC regulations, 2010, vide resolution dated June 29, 2010, and to subsequently amend the university calendar accordingly.
The court was informed that it was on December 20, 2011, that the varsity amended the university regulation 17.3 raising the age of superannuation of teachers to 65. Amended regulations had been sent to the MHRD for approval, for which approval was not even required as the UGC regulations had been framed by the Centre itself that had been insisting on its compliance. However, mere compliance report of implementation was required to be sent.
The petitioner submitted that formal approval was pending since 2011 and the rights of teachers cannot be postponed indefinitely. It was also submitted that a letter dated April 26, 2012, regarding clarification from the MHRD to the vice-president of India, ex-officio chancellor of PU, categorically stated that the UGC regulations 2010 were applicable to the varsity.
Despite several representations and demand of various similarly placed teachers at individual and union level, till date the matter is not being dealt in correct legal perspective leaving the experienced senior professors like the petitioner in uncertainty and lurch, the petitioner submitted.