Supreme Court has affirmed that individuals serving as physical training instructors are encompassed within the scope of the term “teachers.”

“Merely because a PTI/Sports Officer is not expected to conduct classes within the four walls of a college, would not by itself make him ineligible for being treated as a teacher for all practical purposes,” says Bench[1]

The present case before the Supreme Court of India in a civil appeal filed by P.C. Modi, a sports officer/physical training instructor (PTI) at Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya (JNKVV), a university founded under the JNKVV Act of 19631.
The key question is whether the appellant falls under the description of a teacher under the JNKVV Act and Statute, and is entitled to retire at the age of 62 years, not 60 years, as asserted by the respondent institution. The petitioner cited the Supreme Court’s decision in P.S. Ramamohana Rao v. A.P. Agricultural institution (1997), where a similar issue was ruled in favour of a physical director working in another agricultural institution, and the definition of teacher under the A.P act which held to be inclusive and expensive. The respondent university contended that the appellant was a non-teaching service personnel under Statute 11(4)(d) and Regulation 4 of the JNKVV Service Regulations, 1969, and that his duties did not include imparting instruction, conducting research, or conducting extension programs, as required for a teacher under Statute 32.
The High Court had a mixed opinion on the issue. The single court granted the appellant’s writ petition and overturned his retirement order, determining that he was a teacher under Statute 32 and entitled to teacher benefits. The division bench overturned the single judge’s verdict and dismissed the writ petition, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ramesh Chandra Bajpai (2009) ruled that the proposition established in P.S. Ramamohana Rao’s case should not be automatically extended to other circumstances where employees are controlled by various standards.

The Hon’ble bench of justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindla held that: in view of the aforesaid discussion, it is deemed appropriate to quash and set aside the impugned order dated 14th December, 2009 and restore the judgment dated 26th April, 2005 passed by the learned Single Judge. 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. 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, arrear of salary, etc., had he continued in service upto 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. 13. The appeal is allowed on the aforesaid terms. However, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, there shall be no orders as to costs”

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Written by- Namitha Ramesh

[1] https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/physical-training-instructors-come-within-definition-of-teachers-sc/article67674681.ece#:~:text=The%20Supreme%20Court%20has%20held,of%20various%20sports%20and%20games.

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