There is a difference between the erroneous exercise of jurisdiction and total lack or inherent lack of jurisdiction.’ : Calcutta HC

While deciding a Writ Appeal in the case of The Director of Technical Education & Training Govt. of W.B. v Madan Mohan Sarkar & Ors., a division bench of the Calcutta High Court comprising Justice I.P. Mukerji and Justice Biswaroop Chowdhury held that non-teaching employees of the Malda Polytechnic hostel/ mess should be treated as permanent employees of the college and should be granted allowances including service benefits.

Facts of the Case:

Malda Polytechnic was taken over by the government, according to a notification issued by the technical section of the Education Department of the Government of West Bengal. Another announcement said that a hostel committee will be formed in every mess and hostel affiliated to an engineering and technology college. Madan Mohan Sarkar and others (“Respondents in this appeal”) filed a writ petition seeking a mandamus order compelling the Malda Polytechnic and the Director of Technical Education & Training Govt. of W.B. (“Appellant”) to treat them as college employees and grant them the college’s pay scale and other benefits. By his judgment and decision of May 21, 2010, the learned single judge declared the writ petitioners to be permanent non-teaching Group- D employees of that college, and so entitled to pay and allowances. The appellant filed an appeal after being dissatisfied with the ruling.

Judgment Review:

The argument that this court should not have entertained this case in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction and that it should have been submitted before the State Administrative Tribunal was not presented until the final hearing of the appeal. The court determined that the contention that this court lacked jurisdiction to consider the writ application was not supported by sufficient facts. The court ruled that, given the facts of the case, non-teaching staff must be treated and regularised as permanent employees of the Malda Polytechnic, with the right to be paid as state employees. The Division Bench rejected the appeal based on the aforementioned remarks.

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