HC: No pension for part-time lecturers

The Bombay High Court has said that part-time lecturers are not entitled for benefits like pension and gratuity as they have the freedom to take up other jobs. The court gave this judgement while hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate and a part-time lecturer Laxmi Paranjpe. Laxmi who has been associated with ILA Law College Pune for 27 years had challenged the government's decision to not provide pension to part-time faculty members. She was appointed as a part-time lecturer on June 20, 1983. A division bench of Justices P B Majumdar and Amjad Sayed said, “It is required to be noted that Part-time lecturers are not prohibited from taking up other assignments while continuing part-time employment with the college.” Paranjape's petition has touted government's decision was arbitrary, illegal and violated of Articles 14 [equality before law] and 16 [Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment] of the India's Constitution. A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Amjad Sayed said in their February 24 order there was a reasonable classification in the matter of pension between regular lecturers and part-time lecturers. Paranjape's lawyer Girish Godbole argued that if part-time lecturers are entitled to additional benefits and promotions, then they should also be given proportionate pension on retirement. Assistant government pleader V S Gokhale argued that the petitioner was entitled to practice as an advocate also, a perk that is denied to a full-time lecturer. “Additional benefits given to part-time lecturers such as benefits of career advancement scheme, selection grade, etc., ipso facto cannot be grounds for concluding that denying pension to such part-time lecturers violates Article 16 of the Constitution of India,” said the judgment. The court said that if an advocate enrolled with the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa is appointed as a full time lecturer then, he or she has to surrender the license to practice a profession. “During the tenure of his or her employment with the Law College as a full time lecturer, he or she is not permitted to practice in the Court.”

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