PTI/ Sports officer falls within the definition of a ‘teacher’ and can continue service till 62 years of age: Supreme Court

Share on:

While hearing the P.C. Modi vs. The Jawaharlal Nehru Vishwa Vidyalaya case, the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that a PTI (Physical Training Instructor)/ Sports Officer falls within the definition of a ‘teacher’ and is entitled to continue service till completion of 62 years of age. The bench, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal heard an appeal against the decision of the division bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court. The division bench of the HC observed, “Statute 32 recognizes only professors, associate professors, and assistant professors as teachers, and looking at the job profile of the appellant, he does not fall under the definition of a teacher.” In this case, the appellant worked as a sports officer/PTI in the College of Agriculture under the University (respondent No. 01). The University issued an order on June 27, 2000, informing the appellant that on attaining the age of 60 years, he would stand retired from the service of the University with effect from 30th June 2000. The appellant claimed that he was entitled to work till June 30, 2002, which was illegally curtailed by the University. The plea illustrated that “he falls in the purview of a “teacher” in terms of Statute 32 of the J.N.K.V.V Act…he would be due to superannuate only upon attaining the age of 62 years on 30th June 2002.” 

While hearing the matter, the SC observed, “Thus, it can be seen that the definition “teacher” is inclusive in nature and not just confined to a Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor, as defined in Statute 32. When Section 2(n) of the A.P. Act is read in conjunction with Statute 32, the word “teacher” encompasses one who is enjoined to impart instructions and/or conduct and guide research and/or extension programs. The definition being inclusive in nature would have to be read expansively and when read in the context of PTI/Sports Officer, it cannot be denied that the appellant while discharging his duties was required to impart instructions relating to the rules and practices adopted for various categories of sports.” After hearing the submissions, the top court noted “The appellant was also required to impart different skill sets and playing techniques depending on the nature of the sport, for training the students. Merely because the appellant as a PTI/Sports Officer was not expected to conduct classes within the four walls of the College, as in the case of a Professor/Associate Professor/Assistant Professor, would not by itself make him ineligible for being treated as a teacher for all practical purposes in as much as most sports require training in open spaces/fields/courts etc.” 

In association with the current case, the SC quashed and set aside the impugned order dated December 14, 2009, and restored the judgment of the learned Single judge delivered on April 26, 2005, which stated that “It is declared that the appellant, who was discharging the duties of a PTI/Sports Officer, would fall within the definition of a “teacher” and would have been entitled to be continued in service till completion of 62 years of age.” It further added, “As the appellant was prematurely retired by the respondents at the age of 60 years, it is held that he shall be entitled to all consequential and monetary benefits including, arrears of salary, etc., had he continued in service up to the age of 62 years. The retiral benefits of the appellant shall also be computed on a presumption that his age of retirement was 62 years. The entire amount due and payable to the appellant shall be computed by the respondents and paid over to him along with a copy of the said computation within a period of six weeks from today (December 13, 2023).” Apparently, the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India allowed the appeal.