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Recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission need to be resolved at the earliest: SC

TAMIL NADU RURAL DEVELOPMENT ENGINEERS AND ASSISTANT ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION V GOVERNMENT OF TAMIL NADU & ORS, CIVIL APPEAL NO.10029 OF 2017, NO.10030-10189 of 2017, NO.10190 of 2017, NO.10191 of 2017 AND NO.10192 of 2017 – 28.11.2019

The appeal was brought to the Supreme Court of India before the bench consisting of Honourable Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, and Honourable Justice Indu Malhotra. These Appeals arise out of the judgment and order dated 27.02.2014 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras in Writ Appeal No.504 of 2012 and all other connected matters.

Two sets of appeals have been filed in this Court challenging the decision of the Division Bench.

The first set of appeal

The first set was by the Government Employees and their Associations submitting inter alia that once the process undertaken by the State Government was found to be in violation of the principles of natural justice, the complete benefit of setting aside the impugned decisions ought to have been extended. It was also submitted that the exercise undertaken by the One Man Commission was a proper exercise and its recommendations were accepted by the State Government after considering the matter carefully and thus there was no occasion for the State Government to take any different view in the matter.

The second set of appeal

The second set of appeals, at the instance of the State Government, submits inter alia that the exercise undertaken by the PGRC was after giving a due opportunity to the concerned employees and their Associations and as such the High Court was not justified in setting aside GO No.242 seeking to implement the recommendations given by the PGRC.

PETITIONERS CONTENTION

A number of writ petitions were filed challenging GO No.242 dated 22.07.2013. Those writ petitions as well as the pending writ appeals were taken up together and disposed of by the Division Bench of the High Court by its judgment under appeal. It was contended that there was illegality in not following the principles of natural justice, before reducing the scales of pay, and that it was necessary that the matter is to be considered afresh by the Government after giving an opportunity to all concerned especially, for reducing the scale of pay/grade pay.

RESPONDENTS CONTENTION

It was submitted by the learned counsel appearing for the Government Employees and their Associations that having accepted the recommendations made by the One Man Commission and having given benefits in terms of said recommendations, the State Government could not have lowered the pay scales of the concerned employees. On the other hand, it is the submission of the State that the acceptance of the recommendations of the One Man Commission resulted in greater anomalies; that the level of Assistant Engineers, which is the entry-level in various Engineering services was wrongly clubbed with other entry-level services like Assistant Surgeons; and that as a result of upward revision for Assistant Engineers the gap between the level of the Assistant Engineers and the subordinate ranks got widened to a considerable level while the

Assistant Engineers and the promotional level for Assistant Engineer were brought almost at the same levels. According to the learned Advocate General, various such anomalies were required to be sorted out which in turn made the State Government constitute the PGRC. According to the State Government, normally the pay scales afforded to equivalent ranks in the Central Government are higher than the ranks in the State Government but the entry-level of Assistant Engineers in the State Government, as a result of the recommendations of the One Man Commission was kept at a level far too higher than their counterparts in the Central Government.

JUDGMENT DELIVERED

After detailed looking into the facts and circumstances of the case as well as the contentions of both the parties, the Honourable Court gave its judgment as under,

“It must be stated that the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission have since been made and the issue regarding implementation of such recommendations is presently under active consideration. The present matters which pertain to the recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission, therefore, need to be resolved at the earliest. In the circumstances, we request the PGRC to conclude the entire exercise within four months from today. By way of clarification, it is added that the affected categories shall not be permitted to migrate to 7th Central Pay Commission scales on the basis of the higher scales till such time as the final decision is taken. Lastly, it is clarified that the observations in the present order have been made purely from the standpoint of consideration whether the decision of the State Government in constituting the PGRC was correct or not and not by way of reflection on merits of the matter. The matter shall be considered by the PGRC and the State Government purely on merits and uninfluenced by any of the observations made by us. With the aforesaid directions, these appeals are disposed of without any order as to costs.”

Tanvi Srivatsan

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