State cannot make Rules to exclude the employees of unaided educational institutions from the benefits of revised pay scale

Supreme Court: In the case where the validity of the Rules made in respect of the 6th Pay Commission by State of Maharashtra in the year 2009 was in question which dealt with the pay structure of the non-teaching employees of the educational institutions but exclude the non-teaching employees of the unaided non –government colleges, the bench of J. Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre, JJ said that the objects sought to be achieved by the periodic revision of the pay-scales is obviously to comply with the constitutional mandate emanating from Article 43 of the Constitution of India and hence, there is no rationale behind the classification made by the State of the Maharashtra between aided and unaided colleges.

The Court said that the people employed in educational institutions run by non-State actors are not treated any kindlier by the market forces and the economy than the people employed either by the Government or its instrumentalities or institutions administered by non-State actors receiving the economic support of the State. The very fact that the Government of India thought it fit to revise the pay scales of its employees and also thought it fit to accept the suggestions of the UGC to revise the pay scales of various Universities and other bodies whose maintenance expenditure is met by the UGC (in other words virtually by completely convinced that there is a definite need to revise the pay scales of not only its employees, but also the employees of its instrumentalities. The Constitution of India bestows considerable attention to the field of education. It recognizes the need for regulating the various facets of activity of education and also the need for not only establishing and administering educational institutions but also providing financial support for the educational institutions run by private/non-state actors.

Regarding the question as to whether a constitutional court could compel the executive to exercise its statutory authority to make subordinate legislation in a manner which would be consistent with the command of Article 14 and other provisions of the Constitution, the Court said that if a law (whether primary or subordinate legislation) is found to be untenable on the touchstone of Article 14 by the constitutional court, one clear option for a constitutional court is that it can declare such law to be unconstitutional and strike down the law. But, striking down a law, which confers some benefit on a class of people ignoring others who are otherwise similarly situated in our opinion is not to be done as a matter of course. If the benefit sought to be conferred by such a law is not repugnant to the directive principles of the State policy, striking down the same would virtually amount to throwing away the baby with bath water. [Secretary Mahatama Gandhi Mission v. Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 22, decided on 05.01.2017]

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