Here I am sharing with fellow colleagues the relevant rules regarding NOC/Permission for Further/Higher Studies During Service and will also clarify whether it is mandatory for government servant to apply for permission to pursue higher studies during course of his service.
Civil Servant Code of Conduct 1966 is devoid of any specific provision regarding grant of NOC/permission for further studies during Government Service. However, in 60s some Government Instructions were issued perhaps feeling the exigencies of the circumstances. Here it would be quite appropriate too highlight Study Leave Rules contained in Civil Service Rules Punjab Vol-I i.e 8.86 & 8.129
Those specific Provision were especially regarding the Higher Studies and it was specifically provided in Rule 9 of Appendix 20 to that Rules that study leave for two years may extended to four years for the Doctorate Degree. It is however pointed out that in those rules too there is nothing regarding permission/NOC for further studies.
on 21.06.1960 a Government instruction bearing No.S(R) 1357/1-26-58-SO-XIII was issued providing as under:
(a) Government servants should not under any circumstances be allowed to attend any classes or courses during office hours.
(b) Outside office hours, they may attend classes/courses. No formal permission is necessary in such cases. They may only inform the Head of their Department that they are attending such classes/courses. If, however, it is found that by attending such classes/courses the work of the Government servant is suffering the Head of Department, may by an order, stop the Government servant from attending such classes/courses.
It categorically put an embargo on studies/courses during office hours with an explicit direction that outside office hours no formal permission is necessary except a formal intimation to the Head of Department regarding attending such classes. It is clear that implicitly every Government Servant is permitted to attend evening classes unless it adversely affect his performance and thus explicitly restrained, by an order from his head of department, to attend such classes. This instruction was further affirmed on 27.04.1962 vide No.S(R).1151/1-26/58-SO-XIII with slight modification that intimation must contain the name of the Institution the servant had joined.
The above instruction was reiterated in a belated notification dated 17.03.1972 vide No.SORI(S&GAD)1-70/71 which provides that in future Government servants preparing to take any examination, whether with or without attendance at evening classes, should inform the Head of Department in writing of their intention to do so before beginning preparation or six months in advance of the examination, whichever is earlier.
Apart from above there is no Instruction on record requiring Civil Servants to apply for prior approval NOC/Permission for Further/Higher Studies During Service. Thus, unless explicitly restrained, every servant is allowed to join evening classes.
Now comes to the mater of M.Phil and Ph.D classes.
Prior to 2000 AD, classes for both of above degrees were conducted in the evening sessions and in most cases the classes were conducted on weekends. Thus in those days there was no formal permission necessary for those courses. However, subsequently, Universities commenced morning programms for both degrees and requires Government Servants to submit NOC of their employer for admission. It is thus the students/scholars began to apply for NOC/permission for studies. Once, the employer has issued NOC for admission, it necessarily entails grant of study leave too. Study Leave Rules as referred supra are limited to some specific Departments unless extended/adopted by other departments. It is however must be kept in mind that there is no specific rule requiring Civil Servant to apply for NOC/Permission for further studies.