CIVIL WRIT JURISDICTION CASE No.11452 OF 2005
1. SUDAMA SINGH, SON OF LATE TULSI SINGH, RESIDENT OF RAILWAY
HUNDER ROAD, EAST LOHANIPUR, P.S.- KADAM KUAN, AND DISTRICT-
2. DINDAYAL PANDIT, SON OF SRI RAMCHANDRA PANDIT, RESIDENT OF
VILLAGE NATHOPUR, P.S.- PARSA BAZAR, P.O.- KURTHAUL, DISTRICT-
3. NAGENDRA PRASAD SINGH, SON OF LATE R.B. SINGH, RESIDENT OF
VILLAGE CHHOTI BADALPURA, P.O.- KHAGAUL, P.S.- DANAPUR,
4. BIRENDRA KUMAR YADAV, SON OF SRI JAGDEO PD. YADAV, RESIDENT
OF MOHALLA KHAJE KALAN, SABJI MANDI, PATNA CITY, P.S.-
KHAJEKALAN, DISTRICT- PATNA.
5. MADHUR KUMAR RAI, SON OF SRI HULAL RAI, RESIDENT OF VILLAGE
SHAHPUR DIARA, P.O.- AND P.S.- SONEPUR, DISTRICT- SARAN
6. BRIJ MOHAN PRASAD MEHTA, SON OF SRI SHIVA BALAK PRASAD,
RESIDENT OF MOHALLA NEHRU TOLA, P.S.- BEGAMPUR, P.S.- CHOWK,
PATNA CITY, DISTRICT- KPATNA.
1. THE UNION OF INDIA THROUGH THE SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF
RAILWAYS, RAIL BHAWAN, NEW DELHI.
2. THE RAILWAY BOARD THROUGH ITS CHAIRMAN, RAIL BHAWAN, NEW
3. THE CHAIRMAN, RAILWAY BOARD, RAIL BHAWAN, NEW DELHI.
4. THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR, PAY COMMISSION-V-RAILWAY BOARD, RAIL
BHAWAN, NEW DELHI.
5. THE FINANCIAL COMMISSIONER, RAILWAYS, RAILWAY BOARD, RAIL
BHAWAN, NEW DELHI.
6. THE GENERAL MANAGER, EAST RAILWAY, CALCUTTA.
7. THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER, EASTERN RAILWAY, CALCUTTA.
8. THE GENERAL MANAGER, EAST CENTRAL RAILWAY, HAJIPUR (BIHAR).
9. THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR AND CHIEF ACCOUNTS OFFICER, EAST
CENTRAL; RAILWAY, HAJIPUR (BIHAR).
10. THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER, EAST CENTRAL RAILWAY HAJIPUR
11. THE DIVISIONAL MANAGER, DANAPUR DIVISION, EAST CENTRAL
RAILWAY, DANAPUR, DISTRICT- PATNA.
12. THE SENIOR DIVISIONAL PERSONNEL OFFICER, DANAPUR DIVISION,
EAST CENTRAL RAILWAY, DANAPUR, DISTRICT- PATNA.
13. THE CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL, PATNA BENCH PATNA,
THROUGH ITS REGISTRAR.
For The Petitioners :M/s Pushkar Narain Shahi,
Ravi Kumar, Sanjeet Kumar Singh.
For The Respondents :Mr. Shabbir Ahmad, Advocate
P R E S E N T
THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE S.K.KATRIAR
THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE KISHORE KUMAR MANDAL
S.K. Katriar, J.
This writ petition is directed against the order dated 30.06.2005(Annexure-13), passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Patna Bench, in O.A no. 925 of 2003 (Sudama Singh & Ors versus The Union of India & Ors), whereby the original application preferred by the present petitioners have been rejected, and the decision of the respondent authorities granting higher pay-scales to the category of the employees of the petitioners on notional basis, has been upheld.
2. A brief statement of facts essential for the disposal of the writ petition may be indicated. The recommendations of the Vth Pay Commission constituted by the Union of India were enforced w.e.f. 1.1.1996. The Indian Railways adopted the report of the Pay Commission by framing the Railway Services (Revised Pay Rules), 1997, in terms of Article 309 of the Constitution of India marked Annexure-1. After the recommendations of the Vth Pay Commission were enforced, anomalies were pointed out with respect to the recommendations so implemented. The Indian Railways considered the same, and issued orders rectifying the anomalies. In so far as the grant of appropriate pay-scales to the category of Accounts Establishment is concerned, to which the petitioners belong, the Ministry of Railways issued notification dated 7.3.2003 (Annexure-3), giving appropriate pay-scales to
the employees of this category. The supplementary notification dated 16.6.2004 (Annexure-9), deals with the post-retirement benefits admissible to this category of employees. The petitioners complain about the following clause of Annexure-3, whereby notional benefits were given to the petitioners:
“ The above revised pay scales have been granted on notional basis with effect from 01.01.96 and actual payment prospectively from the date of approval of Cabinet i.e. 19.02.2003.” The same was challenged by preferring the original application before the Tribunal, praying therein that they should have been given the actual money benefits w.e.f. 1.1.1996, the date on which the recommendations of the Vth Pay Commission were enforced, rather than giving the benefit notionally. The original applicants also raised the issue of discriminatory treatment. The same has been rejected by the impugned order, inter alia, on the ground that the petitioners have not been given discriminatory
3. We have perused the materials on record, and considered the submissions of learned counsel for the parties. The petitioners are obviously aggrieved by the aforesaid notification dated 7.3.2003 (Annexure-3), and the consequential notification dated 16.6.2004 (Annexure-9), dealing with post-retirement benefits, whereby the benefit of higher pay-scale has not been given effect retrospectively, but on notional basis. As stated hereinabove, the Annexures- 3 and 9 applied to the employees of the Accounts Establishment of the Indian Railways,
and the petitioners belong to this category of employees.
4. Before we proceed further, we must notice the three other notifications issued by the Eastern Railway which is relevant in the present context, and is summarized herewith for the facility of quick reference:
(i) The notification dated 8.12.1998 (Annexure-4), with respect to pay-scale of Artisan staff in Railways , whereby higher pay-scales were granted after the anomalies in the recommendation of the Vth Pay Commission were detected, whereby revised pay-scales were granted with effect from 1.1.1996. The relevant clause is reproduced herein below for the facility of quick reference
“INDEX NO. 1057: Revised pay Scales of Artisan Staff in the Railways consequent upon – Vth Central Pay Commission.”
(ii) The notification dated 26.11.1999 (Annexure-5), with respect to pay-scale of Master Cook in Catering, Medical and Canteen Departments, whereby revised
pay-scales were granted with effect from 1.1.1996. The relevant clause is reproduced hereinbelow for the facility of quick reference.
“INDEX NO. 1057. Revised Pay Scale allotted to Hd. Cook and Master Cook of Catering Dept. Medical Dept. and Canteen staff w.e.f. 1.1.1996.”
(iii) The notification dated 21.1.2003 (Annexure-6), with
respect to pay-scale of Primary School Teachers in Railway Schools with monetary benefits w.e.f. 1.1.1996. The relevant clause is reproduced herein below for the facility of quick reference:
INDEX NO. 1057- The senior and selection Grade Scales of Primary School Teachers in Railway Schools be revised w.e.f. 01.01.1996.
5. It is thus evident that of the four categories of employees of the Indian Railways, namely, Artisan Staff, Master Cook in Catering, Medical and Canteen Departments, and Primary School Teachers, have been given uniform treatment by identifying their appropriate pay-scales, and granting them monetary benefits w.e.f. 1.1.1996, the date on which the recommendations of the Vth Pay Commission were enforced. On the other hand, the employees of Accounts Establishment have been given a differential treatment. They have not been given monetary benefits w.e.f. 1.1.1996, but have instead been given notional benefits w.e.f. 1.1.1996, as a result of which they have been deprived of the differential amount of salary for the period 1.1.1996 to 19.2.2003. This calls for serious consideration.
6. The only logic advanced by the respondent authorities before the Tribunal was that these three categories of employees had threatened to proceed on strike, leading to mutual negotiations, and bipartite settlements. The Tribunal has, therefore, concluded that there was a sound basis to treat the
three categories of employees differently. In the absence of such agreement governing the employees of the Accounts Establishment, the Tribunal has concluded, it cannot be said to be a case of discriminatory treatment.
7. We have given our thoughtful consideration to the matter, and entirely disagree with the approach of the learned Tribunal. Threat of strike, and the consequent agreement, cannot be a valid basis for such a discriminatory treatment. We consider it to be a most unsound basis which can never be said to provide reasonable differentia with the object sought to be achieved. No logic has been advanced that the category of employees of Accounts Establishment have to be differently treated, say, for example, nature of duties and functions, in absence of which we have no hesitation in holding that this category of employees has been subjected to hostile discrimination. It was open to the respondents to give notional benefit to the employees of the Accounts Establishment, provided the same principle were applicable to all categories of employees, in the absence of which it falls foul of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.
8. In the result, we set aside the order dated 30.6.2005, passed in O.A. no. 925 of 2003, and the orders dated 7.3.2009 and 16.6.2004 (Annexures- 3 and 9), stand modified. We take this writ petition to be in a representative category for all employees of the Accounts Establishment of the Indian Railways. all of whom shall get the benefits of appropriate pay-scales w.e.f.
1.1.1996, with payment of arrears of salary, but without the obligation of payment of interest. It goes without saying that the post-retirement benefits of such employees, who have already superannuated, shall be revised, apart from payment of arrears of salary.
There shall be no order as to costs.
Kishore K. Mandal, J : I agree.
Patna High Court
9th April, 2010
(S.K. Katriar, J.)
( Kishore K. Mandal, J. )