Difference between revisions of "Punjab State Electricity Board ... vs Thana Singh And Ors., 2009"

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Punjab State Electricity Board ... vs Thana Singh And Ors. on 8 January, 2019[1]

Civil Appeal no. : 193 of 2019


Decided on : 8 January, 2019


Judge : R. Banumathi, J.


Facts of the case :

In the year 1978 the Respondents were working as Sub Fire Officers in the appellant-Board. The pay scale of the post of Sub Fire Officers was Rs.225-500 which was revised with effect from 01.01.1978 to Rs.620-1200. Thereafter, by an order dated 21.03.1989, the pay scale for the post of Sub Fire Officers was revised to Rs.1640-2925 with effect from 01.01.1986 along with the pay scales of other category of employees of the Board viz. Head Clerks, Head Clerk-cum-Divisional Accountants and Internal Auditors were revised. Subsequently, by an order dated 03.10.1990, the pay scale of Head Clerks was revised from Rs.1640-2925 to Rs.2000-3500 on the recommendation of the Pay Anomaly Committee. Likewise, by the same order dated 03.10.1990, the pay scale of the Internal Auditors was revised to the scale of Rs.1800-3200; but the pay scale of the Sub Fire Officers was not revised on par with Head Clerks and Internal Auditors. A recommendation letter dated 25.03.1991 was written by the Superintendent Engineer, GNDTP, Bhatinda to the Chief Engineer, GNDTP, Bhatinda to consider the case of the Sub Fire Officers to grant scale of pay on par with Head Clerks and Internal Auditors stating that there will not be much financial burden, if the pay scales of Sub Fire Officers are revised equal to other categories as only five number of posts of Sub Fire Officers exist at GNDTP, Bhatinda and RTP, Ropar. Relying on the said letter dated 25.03.1991 of the Superintendent Engineer, GNDTP, Bhatinda, the respondents-Sub Fire Officers submitted various representations to the appellant- Board requesting for higher pay scale on the ground that the pay scale to the post of Sub Fire Officers in the Punjab State Government Department i.e. Fire Protection Department is Rs.1800-3200 and therefore, the respondents-Sub Fire Officers working in the appellant-Board are also to be given the same scale of pay.

The learned Single Judge allowed the writ petition holding that the Sub Fire Officers are within Group XII that included Head Clerks, Head Clerk-cum-Divisional Accountants, Internal Auditors, etc. therefore, Sub Fire Officers cannot be denied same scales of pay when increased for other three classes of persons within Group XII. However, the learned Single Judge rejected the respondent’s plea claiming parity with the employees of the State Government. Observing that the respondents are to be treated on par with other three classes within Group XII of the Board, the learned Single Judge allowed the writ petition.

The Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the appellant-Board holding that there is no basis for differently treating the Sub Fire Officers included in Group XII. The Division Bench has referred to the letter dated 25.03.1991 of the Superintendent Engineer, GNDTP, Bhatinda stating that the cadre of Sub Fire Officers is a small one with limited chances of promotion to the higher posts i.e. Fire Officers and that by revising the scale of Sub Fire Officers on par with others, there will not be much financial burden on the Board. Being aggrieved, the appellant-Board is before us.


Issues :

1. Whether Sub Fire Officers can claim parity of pay scale with pay scale of Head Clerks, Head Clerk-cum-Divisional Accountants, Internal Auditors, etc. merely on the ground that the post of Sub Fire Officers is categorised in Group XII?

2. Whether respondents are right in contending that grant of different scale of pay to Sub Fire Officers is discrimination and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India?


Judgment :

The Supreme Court stated that “Respondents have not produced any material to show that there is any similarity/identity between the posts of Sub Fire Officers and the Head Clerks, Head Clerk-cum-Divisional Accountants and Internal Auditors in terms of the nature of duties, responsibilities, qualifications and mode of recruitment etc. to apply the principle of parity of pay scale. The learned Single Judge did not keep in view that the nature of duties and responsibilities performed by the Sub Fire Officers are different and parity cannot be claimed merely on the ground that they are categorised in one group. The judgment of the learned Single Judge and the impugned judgment of the Division Bench cannot be sustained and are liable to be set aside”.

The Court held that “In the result, the impugned judgment dated 28.09.2010 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in LPA No.713 of 2010 is set aside and this appeal is allowed. Pursuant to the interim order of the Supreme Court, if any amount over and above the salary payable has been paid, the same may not be recovered from the respondents and other Sub Fire Officers”[2].


*References

  1. Case brief written by Yash Paliwal, 2nd year BBA. L.L.B. student of Bharati Vidyapeeth’s New Law College, Pune under Advocatespedia Foundation’s Internship.
  2. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/43931133/