CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL ERNAKULAM BENCH O.A No.1013 /2011 Wednesday, this the 19th day of September, 2012. CORAM HON'BLE Dr K.B.S.RAJAN, JUDICIAL MEMBER HON'BLE Ms. K.NOORJEHAN, ADMINISTRATIVE MEMBER 1. A.S.Peethambaran, S/o late A.A.Sreedharan, Court Master, Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam Bench, residing at Ammanath House, P.O.Chitilappilly, Trichur District. 2. Sebastian Antony, S/o N.C.Antony, Court Master, Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam Bench, residing at C-10, GPRA Quarters, Kakkanad. - Applicants (By Advocate Mr Shafik M Abdulkhadir) v. 1. Union of India, represented by The Secretary, Ministry of Personnel, PG & Pensions, Department of Personnel and Training, North Block, New Delhi-110 001. 2. The Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, North Block, New Delhi-110 001. 3. The Principal Registrar, Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, 61/35 Copernicus Marg, New Delhi. 4. The Registrar, Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam Bench, Sastha Temple Road, Kochi-17. - Respondents . (By Advocate Mr Sunil Jacob Jose, SCGSC) This application having been finally heard on 17.09.2012, the Tribunal on 19.09.2012 delivered the following: O R D E R
HON'BLE Dr K.B.S.RAJAN, JUDICIAL MEMBER The issue involved in this Original Application, in fact, is no longer res Integra. This original application, admittedly is identical to that of OA No. 856 of 2011. In the other OA as well, the impugned order is order dated 15-11-2010 (Annexure A-1 in this OA). The claim of the applicants in this OA is the same as in the other OA and the only difference is that in this OA, the applicants challenge Annexure A-4 clarification issued by the Ministry of Finance, which is an item that is applicable to all the Departments/Ministries.
2. In so far as pay fixation is concerned, the prayer in this OA and that in the other OA No. 856 of 2011 are one and the same as could be seen from the following comparative table:-
Prayer in OA No. 856 of 2011 Prayer in this OA
(a) Declare that the applicants are (i) To call for the records entitled to the benefit of fitment as leading to Annexure A-1 and granted to Shri T.Srinivasa, Assistant of quash the same to the extent the Bangalore Bench of the Hon'ble it fixed he pay of the Central Administrative Tribunal in terms applicants in the fitment of A7 and direct the respondents to fix table of Rs.5500-9000. the applicant's pay accordingly; (ii) To call for the records leading to Annexure A-4 and
(b) Declare that the applicants are to quash the same to the entitled to be granted the benefit of extent it denies grant of Anenxures.A1,A2, A4 and A5 with effect fitment table of Rs.7450- from 15.9.2006 and to be thus granted 11500/- w.e.f. 1.1.2006 to the scale of pay of Rs. 6500-10500 and the applicants who were in an option to come over to the revised services as Court Masters pay band plus GP with effect from that before 1.1.2006. date, as has been granted to the Assistant/Stenographers Grade C of the (iii) To direct the respondents Central Secretariat Service/Central to fix the pay of the Secretariat Stenographers Service; applicants in PB-2, 9300-
34800 with grade of
(c) Direct the respondents to grant the Rs.4600/- with reference to applicants the scale of pay of Rs. 6500- the fitment table of the pre- 10500 with effect from 15.9.2006, with a revised scale Rs.7450- further option to come over to the 11,500 with effect from revised pay band plus GP with effect 1.1.2006 and grant all from 15.9.2006 after drawing the pay consequential benefits scale of Rs. 6500-10500, with all including arrears with effect consequential benefits of arrears of pay from 1.1.2006. and allowances arising there from. (iv) To pass any such order as deemed just, fit and
(d) Award costs of and incidental to this necessary in the facts and application; circumstances of the case.
(e) Pass such other orders or direction (v) To award costs of and as deemed just fit and necessary in the incidental to this application. facts and circumstances of the case.
3. OA 856 of 2011, has been allowed by the Tribunal and the following order has been passed:-
"The applicants are functioning respectively as Assistants, Court Master (stenographer Gr. 'C') and Upper Division Clerk in the Central Administrative Tribunal, Ernakulam Bench. The pay scales of both Assistant and Stenographer Gr. 'C' have been identical right from the beginning. The 3rd applicant has been afforded the second financial upgradation under the ACP scheme in the pay scale of Rs 5,500 - 9,000 w.e.f. 18-
04-2005. Thus, for the purposes of this OA, since the claim relates to fixation of pay in the pay scale of an assistant, all the applicants are in the same pedestal.
4. The post of Assistant and stenographer Gr. C in the Central Administrative Tribunal has been right from the beginning equated with those of in the Central Secretariat Services (CSS)/Central Secretariat Stenographers Services (CSSS) for all purposes. This historical parity has been reiterated in the decision of the Tribunal in the case of S.K. Sareen vs Union of India & Others (OA No. 777 of 1992 (decided on 20-12-1992) and later on in OA No. 164 of 2009 decided on 19-02-2009.
5. Prior to 01-01-2006 the pay scale of the Assistants had been Rs 5,500-9000. On the recommendation of the VI Central Pay Commission, the pay scale of Assistants of the CSS and stenographers of the CSSS cadre underwent an upward revision from the above scale to Rs 6,500 - 10,500/- effective from 15-09-2006 (Later on, the pay scale of Assistants in the CSS Cadre and the stenographer in the CSSS cadre was revised from 6,500 - 10,500 to 7450 - 11500) and in so far as further revision on the basis of the Revised Pay Rules, 2008, the pay scale admissible to these posts has been Rs 9,300 - 34,800 with grade pay of Rs 4,200/-. Since the revision of the pay scale in the pre-revised pay scale effective from 01-01-2006 was made effective from 15-09-2006, option had been made available for deferring the revision under the provisions of Rule 7 of the CCS(Revised Pay) Rule, 2008 to such assistants in CSS cadre and the Stenographers in the CSSS Cadre. Annexure A-4 note dated 23-06-2009 refers. A further clarification was issued with reference to the entitlement of those who have been granted the pay scale of Assistants as financial upgradation under the ACP Scheme, vide Annexure A-5 note dated 14-12-2009.
6. In so far as the staff of Central Administrative Tribunal were concerned, since the above upward revision in the pre revised scale was not initially afforded, some of the Stenographers Gr. C moved the Principal Bench of the C.A.T. in OA No. 1165 of 2010 (Smt. Sunita Dutt and others) and the Tribunal by its order dated 09-04-2010 directed the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to treat the entire OA as a representation and consider the claim of the applicants therein. And, the DoPT, on due consideration had issued an order dated 6th July, 2010 which reads as under:-7.
"No.P-20011/21/2010-AT Government of India Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Department of Personnel & Training New Delhi dated the 6th July,2010 ORDER Subject:- Implementation for the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission in respect of Assistants/Stenographers Gr.'C'/Court Masters in the Central Administrative Tribunal.
Pursuant to the orders in OA No.1165/2010 and MA 866/2010 dated 9.4.2010 (Shri Sunita Dutt versus Union of India and others) Assistants/Stenographers Gr.'C'/Court Masters in the Central Administrative Tribunal are granted the revised pay structure as indicated below with effect from 1.1.2006.
Designation Pre-revised pay scale Revised pay structure Pay Grade Band Pay Assistants/ Rs.5500-9000 PB-2 Rs.4600 Stenographers Gr.'C' Revised to Court Masters Rs.7450-225-11500)
2. This issues with the concurrence of the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure) vide its ID No.33(3)/ 2010-E.III(B) dated 21.06.2010 and the integrated Finance Division (MHA) vide their Dy.No.CF-61842/Fin.II dated 5.7.2010.
Manju Pandey Director"
7. It is to be noted here that by the time the above order came to be passed, the pay scale of the counterparts in CSSS cadre (as also CSS cadre) had been revised from 6500 - 10500 to 7450 - 11500).
8. Thus, the above would reflect that when the pay scale of Assistants and Stenographer Gr. 'C' in the C.A.T. had been revised from 5,500 - 9,000 to 7450 - 11500 directly, their counterparts in the CSS and CSSS cadre had the benefit of higher pay scale first in the scale of Rs 6,500 - 10,500 w.e.f. 15-09-2006 with the option available under the Revised Pay Rules and further the next scale of Rs 7,450 - 11500. This has resulted in some disparity consequent to which, the first applicant herein moved a representation dated 10-07-2009 for fixation of his pay in the scale of pay of Rs 6,500 - 10,500 vide Annexure A-6.
9. After the issue of the order dated 06-07-2010 (Annexure A-3) the Bangalore Bench of the C.A.T. had, vide Annexure A- 7 order dated 23-11-2010, fixed the pay of one Shri T. Srinivasa, Assistant of C.A.T. Bangalore Bench. The individual was drawing the pay in the scale of Rs 5,500 - 9000 at the stage of Rs 6,000 as on 01-01-2006. On the basis of his option exercised under Rule 7 of the Pay Rules, 2008, his pay was fixed notionally w.e.f. 02-01-2006 in the pay scale of Rs 7,450 - 11,500 and actually in the revised pay scale of Rs 9,300 - 34,800 plus G.P. Of Rs 4,600 and the pay of the said individual as on 01-01-2006 came to be Rs 13,860 plus Grade Pay of Rs 4,600/-.
The claim of the applicants is that their pay should also be fixed in the very same fashion as had been done in the case of Shri T. Srinivasa of the Bangalore Bench. Hence, this petition, with the reliefs as extracted above.
10. Respondents have contested the O.A. They have stated that in so far as the claim of the applicants as in prayer
(b) and (c) at para 8, the same cannot be acceded to in view of the fact that the pay scale of the applicants has never been fixed at any stage in the scale of Rs 6,500 - 10,500 and as such. They have in fact sought clarification from the Nodal Ministry DoPT vide Annexure R 1(a) and (b) and the Ministry had informed the Principal Bench that that the pay should be fixed in accordance with the Revised Pay Rules, vide Annexure R1(c). In so far as the fixation of pay in the scale of Rs 7450 - 11,500, referring to the pay fixation in the case of T. Srinivasa, Assistant of the Bangalore Bench, the Respondents have stated that the same, in respect of the first applicant has been fixed vide order dated 20-01-2012, at Annexure R1(d). Hence, the respondents have stated that the applicants are not entitled to any further relief.
11. Counsel for the applicants has taken us through various documents and stated that the claim of the applicant for fixation of pay in the scale of Rs 6,500 - 10,500 is not insisted in view of the fact that the pay scale had been directly revised from Rs 5,500 - 9,000 to Rs 7,450 - 11,500. In so far as fixation as contained in Annexure R1(d) is concerned, the counsel submitted that a comparison of the same with that of Annexure A-7 would reveal the difference in the fixation so granted to applicant No. 1. Referring to the table of concordance as contained in the RP Rule, 2008, the counsel submitted that whereas in the case of Shri T. Srinivasa the fixation has been on the basis of the pay fixed prior to revision in the latest pay scale was in the scale of Rs 7,450 - 11,500 as on 01-01-2006 and thereafter, pay fixed in the scale of 9,300 - 34,800 plus grade pay of Rs 4,600/- in the case of the applicant No. 1, the pay fixed is as on 01-01-2008. Thus, there is a difference of two years in the applicant No. 1 reaching the pay of his counter part at Bangalore, as on 01- 01-2006. In fact, applicant No. 1 had been enjoying the second financial upgradation since 11-02-2005 and he had been regularly promoted as Assistant on 01-01-2009. Thus, as on 01-01-2006 the pay of applicant No. 1 being that of Assistant, revision as on 01-01-2006 should have been made first in the scale of Rs 7450 - 11500 and thereafter, his pay fixed in the scale of Rs 9,300 - 34,800 plus grade pay of Rs 4,600/-. The counsel argued that since financial upgradation is in lieu of promotion to a particular post, there cannot be any difference in fixation of pay.
12. Counsel for the respondent has submitted that the applicants are not entitled to any fixation with reference to the pay scale of Rs 6,500 - 10,500 and as regards fixation in the grade of Rs 7,450 - 11,500/- the latest order on 20-1-2012 vide Annexure R 1(d) would fulfill the requirement.
13. Arguments were heard and documents perused. The matter is not complex. The claim of the applicants is that the manner in which the Bangalore Bench had fixed the pay of Shri T. Srinivasa should be adopted in the pay fixation of the applicants as well. It is not the case of the respondents that the pay fixed by the Bangalore Bench is erroneous. Once the manner of fixation of pay is held not erroneous, justice demands that the same is adopted in all identical cases. Admittedly, the cases of Shri T. Srinivasa and the applicants in the present O.A. are identical. Be it promotion to the post of Assistant, or financial upgradation to the pay scale of Assistant, as long as both are prior to 01-01-2006, fixation of pay as on 01-01-2006 in the pay scale of Rs 7,450 - 11,500 first and thereafter, fixation in the revised scale of Rs 9300 - 34500 plus grade pay of Rs 4600 should be uniform.
14. In view of the above, the O.A. is allowed. Respondents are directed to adopt the same method of fixation of pay of the applicants as on 01-01-2006 first in the pay scale of Rs 7450 - 11500 notionally and actually thereafter in the pay scale of Rs 9300 - 34500 plus grade pay of Rs 4600/- as has been adopted in the case of T. Srinivasa of Bangalore Bench. This order may be complied with, within a period of three months from the date of communication of this order.
15. Respondents may also consider this order as a judgment in rem and apply the same to others similarly situated, as the same would avoid multiplicity of litigation. In fact, the Apex Court in a number of cases and the V CPC in para 126.5 have emphasized such a practice. It is appropriate to cite the same as hereunder:-
(a) The Apex Court as early as in 1975 in the case of Amrit Lal Berry v. CCE, (1975) 4 SCC 714 , held as under:-
We may, however, observe that when a citizen aggrieved by the action of a government department has approached the Court and obtained a declaration of law in his favour, others, in like circumstances, should be able to rely on the sense of responsibility of the department concerned and to expect that they will be given the benefit of this declaration without the need to take their grievances to court.
(b) In Inder Pal Yadav v. Union of India, (1985) 2 SCC 648, the Apex Court has held as under:-
"... those who could not come to the court need not be at a comparative disadvantage to those who rushed in here. If they are otherwise similarly situated, they are entitled to similar treatment, if not by anyone else at the hands of this Court.
(c) The V Central Pay Commission in its recommendation, in regard to extension of benefit of court judgment to similarly situated, held as under:-
"126.5 - Extending judicial decisions in matters of a general nature to all similarly placed employees. - We have observed that frequently, in cases of service litigation involving many similarly placed employees, the benefit of judgment is only extended to those employees who had agitated the matter before the Tribunal/Court. This generates a lot of needless litigation. It also runs contrary to the judgment given by the Full Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal, Bangalore in the case of C.S. Elias Ahmed and others v. UOI & others (O.A. Nos. 451 and 541 of 1991), wherein it was held that the entire class of employees who are similarly situated are required to be given the benefit of the decision whether or not they were parties to the original writ. Incidentally, this principle has been upheld by the Supreme Court in this case as well as in numerous other judgments like G.C.
Ghosh v. UOI, [ (1992) 19 ATC 94 (SC) ], dated 20-7- 1998; K.I. Shepherd v. UOI [(JT 1987 (3) SC 600)]; Abid Hussain v. UOI [(JT 1987 (1) SC 147], etc. Accordingly, we recommend that decisions taken in one specific case either by the judiciary or the Government should be applied to all other identical cases without forcing the other employees to approach the court of law for an identical remedy or relief. We clarify that this decision will apply only in cases where a principle or common issue of general nature applicable to a group or category of Government employees is concerned and not to matters relating to a specific grievance or anomaly of an individual employee."
(d) In a latter case of Uttaranchal Forest Rangers' Assn. (Direct Recruit) v. State of U.P.,(2006) 10 SCC 346, , the Apex Court has referred to the decision in the case of State of Karnataka vs C Lalitha (2006) 2 SCC 747 as under:
"29. Service jurisprudence evolved by this Court from time to time postulates that all persons similarly situated should be treated similarly. Only because one person has approached the court that would not mean that persons similarly situated should be treated differently."
4. In the instant case, the respondents have, in para 10 of the reply, mentioned one fact in respect of fixation of pay of the applicant at par with his junior one Mr. Kabi, and the same is as under:-
"As regards para 5(B) of the above, it is reiterated that the pay of the applicants in the O.A have been stepped up at par with their junior Shri Suryaroop Kabi, Court Master, Central Administrative Tribunal, Patna Bench, the date from which their immediate junior Shri Suryaroop Kabi, Court Master was getting higher pay than the applicants in the O.A in terms of Note 10 below Rule 7 of CCS(RP) Rules, 2008 read with DOPT OM dated 22.12.10 & 18.3.11 vide office order dated 30.1.12. It is further submitted that the pay of Shri Suryaroop Kabi as on 14.2.08 was fixed at the stage of Rs.13860+4600 as Grade Pay whereas Smt Mamta Wadhwa was drawing the revised pay at the stage of Rs.13860+4600 as grade pay w.e.f. 1.7.2008. Presently the pay of the applicants have been stepped up with that of Suryaroop Kabi w.e.f. 14.2.2008 to Rs.13860+4600 grade pay. Hence, the allegation that Smt Mamta Wadhwa, Junior to the applicant is drawing higher pay than the applicant is denied."
5. In the rejoinder, the applicants have rebutted the above contention of the respondents.
6. Arguments were advanced by the counsel for both the parties and it has been submitted by the counsel for the applicants that the case is identical to that in OA No. 856 of 2011. In so far as the difference is concerned, the applicants in this case have challenged the clarification order dated 14-12-2009 as well. Counsel for the respondents endorsed the above said submission that the case in all the four is identical to that in OA No. 856 of 2011. However, the counsel also referred to para 10 of the reply extracted above.
7. Arguments were heard and documents perused. At the outset it is to be observed that the legal validity of the clarification dated 14-12-2009 need not be gone into in this case as the case being identical with that of OA No. 856 of 2011, and the order in the said OA having the effect of judgment in rem as contained in the later part of the said order, the same should cover this case as well. In so far as the stepping up of pay with reference to the junior as contained in para 10 of the OA, it is to be mentioned that in all expectation, the decision in OA No. 856 of 2011 when implemented would equally lead to the revision of pay of the said junior as well. In that event, the stepping up of pay of the applicants would have to be reviewed and revised again. Thus, para 10 of the reply alone cannot meet the claim of the applicants.
8. In view of the above, based on the decision in OA No. 856 of 2011, this OA is also allowed. Respondents are directed to extend the benefits available to the applicants in OA No. 856 of 2011 to the applicants in this case as well. The time calendared therein would be equally applicable to the present case too.
9. Under the above circumstances, there shall be no orders as to costs.
K.NOORJEHAN Dr K.B.S.RAJAN ADMINISTRATIVE MEMBER JUDICIAL MEMBER trs