1. This writ application under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India has been filed by Bihar Rajya Panchayat Sevak Sangh through its President and three other petitioners who are Panchayat Sevak. Petitioner No. 1 is a registered Association which seeks to maintain this writ application in representative capacity oil behalf of the Panchayat Sevaks in service under' the Panchayat Raj Act, 1947. The petitioners have prayed for issuance of appropriate writ or direction in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondent-authorities to grant to the Panchayat Sevaks pay-scale of Rs. 580-860 per month as replacement scale of Rs. 220-315 which has been granted to several employees, allegedly similarly situated as the-petitioners, as per recommendations of the 4th Pay Revision Committee and to further grant to the petitioners the revised scale of Rs. 1,200-1,800 per month as replacement scale of Rs. 580-860 as has been given to alleged similarly situated employees under the recommendations of the 5th Pay Revision Committee.
2. The petitioners have based their claim upon Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India arid seek parity in pay-scales with the Assistants working in Collectorates on the ground that the post held by the petitioners carries higher duties and is, in fact, superior to the post of Collectorate Assistants. The other submission on behalf of the petitioners is based upon the fact that although in 1948 the Panchayat Sevaks were getting a consolidated pay of Rs. 40 which was subsequently raised to Rs. 65 but in 1970 they were granted a pay-scale of Rs. 105-155 for those Panchayat Sevaks who were matriculate and pay-scale of Rs. 85-115 for non-matriculates and at that period of time the Collectorate Assistants who are required to be matriculate were also placed ill pay-scale of Rs. 105-155. Under the recommendations of the 2nd Pay Revision Committee the same pay-scales were maintained. As per 3rd Pay Revision Committee recommendations, the matriculate Panchayat Sevaks were given a replacement scale of Rs. 220-315 which was same as replacement scale granted to Collectorate Assistants but in 1981, the. 4th Pay Revision Committee granted a replacement scale of Rs. 535-765 to the Panchayat Sevaks and a higher replacement scale of Rs. 580-860 to the Collectorate Assistants. The said disparity was continued under the recommendations of the 5th Pay Revision Committee whereunder the Panchayat Sevaks got replacement scale of Rs. 975-1,540 whereas the Collectorate Assistants got the replacement scale of Rs. 1,200-1,800. Therefore, the petitioners have claimed through this writ application the replacement scales granted to the Collectorate Assistants as per recommendations of 4th and 5th Pay Revision Committees.
3. The aforementioned history of pay-scales is not in dispute and therefore, on behalf of the petitioners it was submitted that the 4th and 5th Pay Revision Committees acted arbitrarily in granting a lower replacement scale to the Panchayat Sevaks in comparison to the replacement scales granted to the Collectorate Assistants.
4. On behalf of the petitioners, it was not suggested that the Pay Revision Committee upon sufficient materials cannot recommend different replacement scales for different posts although earlier they may have been under the same pay-scales. In other words, it is not the case of the petitioners that the Pay Revision Committee is bound to maintain the parity of pay-scales between the different posts under different departments but their case is that upon comparative evaluation, the duties of Panchayat Sevaks assigned to them under the Panchayat Manual, as evidence by Annexure-3. is quite extensive and if they are compared with the duties generally being performed by Collectorate Assistants then the post of Panchayat Sevak will be found to carry heavier duties. It has further been submitted on behalf of the petitioners that by an order dated 1.5.1960 as contained in Annexure-6, the Government of Bihar has declared the post of Panchayat Sevaks as superior Class III posts in term of Rule 47 of the Bihar Service Code. While this has not been done in the case of Collectorate Assistants and therefore, in view of these two facts, the Panchayat Sevaks are entitled at least, to the same pay-scale as has been given to Collectorate Assistants, if not a higher scale.
5. A counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents discloses that some other Panchayat Sevaks had filed a writ petition bearing C.W.J.C. No. 9046 of 1995 through which they claimed the same replacement scales as is being claimed in this writ application but. in that case, the claim was made by seeking parity with the replacement scales granted to Village Level Workers and Jan Sevaks. The said writ application was disposed of by order dated 29.8.1996 as contained in Annexure-11 whereby the Chief Secretary was directed to consider the grievances of the petitioners and pass a final order. In that case also, the Panchayat Sevaks had shown that prior to implementation of 4th Pay Revision Committee repeal, the pay-scale of Panchayat Sevaks, Jan sevaks and Village Level Workers was of Rs. 240-315 but the replacement scales recommended by the 4th Pay Revision Committee were different and the Panchayat Sevaks were unfortunately granted a lower replacement scale of Rs. 535-765 whereas the Jan Sevaks and Village Level Workers were granted replacement scale ofRs. 580-860. Pursuant to Annexure-11 the Chief Secretary examined the matter and by his order dated 13.2.1997 (Annexure-A to the counter-affidavit) rejected the claim based upon alleged equality with Jan Sevaks with a clear finding that for appointment to the post of Jan Sevak, minimum qualification was Diploma in Agriculture which required two years of further study and six months of further training.
6. According to learned Counsel for the State, since the petitioners have abandoned their claim of equality with Jan Sevaks who are placed in the scales which the petitioners are now claiming on the basis of equality or superiority with Collectorate Assistants, the petitioners cannot be granted that relief because that would amount to put the Panchayat Sevaks and Jan Sevaks in the same replacement scales of pay when as per unassailed finding in Annexure-A, the post of Jan Sevak is superior by virtue of higher educational eligibility requirements.
7. A close perusal of Annexure-A reveals that although the Chief Secretary confused the petitioners of this case with the petitioners of C.W.J.C. No. 9046 of 1995 but he also examined the contention which has been raised in this writ application on the basis of alleged equality with the Collectorate Assistants or the Assistants in Muffasil. The said contention was examined and rejected by reference to the report of the Pay Anomaly Removal Committee which is as follows:
We do not consider this is a fair comparison. The two posts cannot be considered equivalent each being typical in view of its nature of duties and responsibilities. There is no case for anomaly here.
8. So far as the claim of petitioners claiming equality or superiority with Collectorate Assistants is concerned, the same cannot be accepted only on the basis of nature of duties of Panchayat Sevaks mentioned in Annexure-3 or on the basis of Annexure-6 under which the post of Panchayat Sevak has been declared as a superior Class III post in term of Rule 47 of the Bihar Service Code. The exact nature of duties and responsibilities of Assistants in the Collectorate or Muffasil Offices is not before this Court and hence, it is difficult to overrule the opinion of experts as reflected by Annexure-A that it is not possible to compare the duties and responsibilities of the two posts because they are typical and of different nature. A perusal of relevant provisions in the Bihar Service Code shows that Rule 24 defines inferior service as one which may be specially classified as such by the State Government or any other kind of service whose maximum pay does not ordinarily exceed Rs. 95 per month. Rule 47 defines superior service as any kind of service which is not inferior. Annexure-6 shows that the said notification had to be issued as a consequence of amendment of Rule 24 of the Bihar Service Code, The list of inferior services specially classified by the State Government is contained in Appendix 4 to the Bihar Service Code and that does not include the post of Collectorate Assistants. The maximum pay of Collectorate Assistants is much higher than that prescribed for inferior service and hence, even without any declaration by the Government of Bihar it cannot be said that the post of Collectorate Assistants is in inferior service. As noticed above, as per Rule 47 and kind of service which is not inferior is included in superior service. Hence, as per considered opinion of this Court, the submissions advanced on behalf of the petitioners do not establish that Panchayat Sevaks are equal or superior to Collectorate Assistants either by status or by duties and responsibilities. It is not possible for this Court to compare the two services for the purpose of grant of pay-scales.
9. The mere fact that at some point of time the Panchayat Sevaks were getting the same pay-scale as the Collectorate Assistants or Jan Sevaks is also of not much help to the petitioners because for valid reasons the Pay Revision Committee can always recommend different replacement scales for various posts which may have been Earlier in the same pay-scale or vice versa it may recommend, for good reasons, the same replacement scale for different posts which may have been earlier under different scales.
10. On behalf of the petitioners, reliance was placed upon a judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Purshottam Lal v. Union of India , in support of the proposition that Courts have enforced Articles 14 and 16 in matters relating to claim for same pay-scale by similarly situated employees. In the aforesaid judgment, the apex Court was dealing with a case where the revised pay-scales as per recommendations of the Pay Commission were being implemented with effect from different dates. The delayed implementation of the revised pay-scales for a particular category of service was found to be in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. The said judgment, in my view, does not apply to the facts of the present case and is of no help to the petitioners.
11. For all the aforesaid reasons, this writ application is devoid of merit and is, therefore, dismissed. In the facts of the base, there shall be no order as to costs.