Verma Vs. Union of India  INSC 99 (8 February 1994)
N.P. (J) Singh N.P. (J) Verma, Jagdish Saran (J) Venkatachala N. (J)
1994 SCR (1) 700 1994 SCC (2) 521 JT 1994 (1) 574 1994 SCALE (1)469
Judgment of the Court was delivered by N.P. SINGH, J.- These petitions under
Article 32 of the Constitution have been filed on behalf of the three
petitioners, questioning the validity of an order dated June 15, 1984 issued by
the Chief Superintendent, Central Hospital (Northern Railway), New
Delhi.2.After the petitioners had been duly registered as Pharmacists by the
Registrar, U.P. State Pharmacy Council, they were appointed as Pharmacists in
the Northern Railway, Central Hospital, in the scale of Rs 130-240. Since 1973
petitioners started getting the revised scale of Rs 330-560. A seniority list
of Pharmacists in the pay scale of Rs 330-560 was prepared in which names of
the petitioners were also included. The impugned orders dated June 15, 1984
were issued to the petitioners, saying that as they were covered by clause (d)
of Section 31 of the Pharmacy Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'),
their salary was being fixed in the scale of Rs 330-480 instead of Rs 330-560
with effect from 1973. It was further said that after completion of 10 years of
service, they would be getting the scale of Rs 330- 560. There is no dispute
that after completion of 10 years of service, petitioners have been getting the
scale of Rs 330-560. According to the petitioners, the sudden reduction of the
scale of pay from Rs 330-560 to Rs 330-480, after several years of the
implementation of the said scale has not only affected financially but even the
seniority of the petitioners.
has been stated on behalf of the respondents that aforesaid order dated June 15, 1984 had been issued in view of the
Railway Board letter dated August 12, 1975.
It was pointed out that as the petitioners were not qualified Pharmacists
possessing the qualifications mentioned in clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Sections
31 and 32 of the Act, they were not entitled to the pay scale of Rs 330-560 as
per recommendation of the Third Pay Commission and by the impugned orders the
pay scale recommended for them was implemented.
Section 31 of the Act says "3 1. A person who has attained the age of
eighteen years' shall be entitled on payment of the prescribed fee to have his
name entered in the first register if he resides, or carries on the business or
profession of pharmacy, in the State and if he- (a)holds a degree or diploma in
pharmacy or pharmaceutical chemistry or a chemist and druggist diploma of an
Indian University or a State Government, as the case may be, or a prescribed
qualification granted by an authority outside India, or (b)holds a degree of an
Indian University other than a degree in pharmacy or pharmaceutical chemistry,
and has been engaged in the compounding of drugs in a hospital or dispensary or
other place in which drugs are regularly dispensed on prescriptions of medical
practitioners for a total period of not less than three years, or (c)has passed
an examination recognised as adequate by the State Government for compounders
or dispensers, or (d) has been engaged in the compounding of drugs in a
hospital or dispensary or other place in which drugs are regularly dispensed on
prescriptions of medical practitioners for a total period of not less than five
years prior to the date notified under sub-section (2) of Section 30." 5.
The Third Pay Commission recommended the two revised scales of 5.The third pay
to the Pharmacists Grade-B, classifying them into two categories according to
their qualifications. In other words, the Pharmacists Grade-B who were getting
the scale of Rs 130-240 were put in two categories with reference to their
qualification and two scales of pay were recommended which are as follows :
Revised Scale Qualification Scale Pharmacist 130-240 330-10-380- For fully
qualified Grade-B. EB-12-500-Pharmacist i.e. those EB-15-560 possessing
qualification mentioned in Sections 31 and 32 of Pharmacy Act, 1948 but
excluding those covered by clause (d) of Section 31 of the Pharmacy Act.
Pharmacist 130-240 330-8-370- For unqualified Grade-B. 10-400-EB- Pharmacists
i.e. those 10-480. covered by clause (d) of Section 31 of Pharmacy Act, or
possessing registerable qualifications under that clause.
said recommendation was given effect from January 1, 1973. There is no dispute that the
petitioners are unqualified Pharmacists as such covered by clause (d) of
Section 31 of the Act. In terms of the recommendation which was given effect to
with effect from January
1, 1973, the
petitioners were entitled to the scale of Rs 330-480. But they were getting the
pay scale of Rs 330-560 which was meant for qualified Pharmacists i.e. those
possessing qualifications mentioned in Sections 31 and 32 of the Act excluding
those covered by clause (d) of Section 31 of the Act.
According to the petitioners, although they possess the qualification
prescribed under clause (d) of Section 31 but as throughout they had been
treated on a par with the Pharmacists possessing qualifications prescribed in
clauses (a) to (c) of Sections 31 and 32 of the Act and they were getting the
same scale of pay since 1973, the order dated June 15, 1984 reducing their
scale of pay from Rs 330-560 to Rs 330-480 retrospectively, was arbitrary and
discriminatory in nature.
During the hearing of the writ petitions, it was an admitted position that the
petitioners do not hold the qualifications mentioned in clauses (a), (b) and
(c) of Section 31 of the Act and they are only covered by clause (d) of Section
31. The Third Pay Commission placed Pharmacists Grade-B into two categories for
prescribing the scales of pay (i) Pharmacists, fully qualified, who possessed
the qualifications mentioned in clauses (a) to (c) of Section 3 1, (ii)
Pharmacists, who are covered by clause (d) of Section 31 of the Act. That
recommendation was given effect to w.e.f. January 1, 1973. As such in normal
course, the petitioners were entitled to the scale of Rs 330480 and not the
scale of Rs 330-560. But they were getting the scale of Rs 330-560 since 1973.
Once it is established that the petitioners do not belong to the class of
Pharmacists, who possessed the qualifications mentioned in clauses (a) to (c)
of Section 31 for whom the separate scale of pay was recommended by the Third
Pay Commission, which was accepted by the Government and implemented w.e.f.
January 1, 1973, we fail to understand as to how the petitioners can claim the
scale when they do not belong to same class or category.
basis of the claim of the petitioners is that prior to January 1, 1973 there
was only one scale of Rs 130-240 for Pharmacists who possessed the
qualifications mentioned in clauses (a) to (c) of Section 31 as well as those
who were covered by clause (d) of Section 31 i.e. who did not possess the
qualifications mentioned in clauses (a) to (c).
always open to the State Government to put its employees in the same service in
different 525 categories for the purpose of the scale of pay according to the
qualifications possessed by them. When Section 31 itself conceives of different
types of Pharmacists with reference to their academic qualifications and
experience, then no fault can be found either with the Third Pay Commission or
the respondents in putting the Pharmacists Grade-B in two categories with
reference to their qualifications and experience and prescribing two scales of
pay. In most of the services the scale of pay is linked with the academic performance,
experience and it cannot be held that for one service there should be only one
scale of pay ignoring the persons who possess the higher qualifications.
was then urged on behalf of the petitioners that on principle of 'equal pay for
equal work' they were entitled to pay scale of Rs 330-560. It was pointed out
that they have been performing the same nature of work, which was being
performed by other Pharmacists Grade-B who have been given the scale of Rs
330-560. The nature of work may be more or less the same but scale of pay may
vary based on academic qualification or experience which justifies
classification. The principle of 'equal pay for equal work' should not be
applied in a mechanical or casual manner.
made by a body of experts after full study and analysis of the work should not
be disturbed except for strong reasons which indicate the classification made
to be unreasonable. Inequality of the men in different groups excludes
applicability of the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' to them. The
principle of 'equal pay for equal work' has been examined in State of M.P. v. Pramod Bhartiyal by this Court. Before any
direction is issued by the Court, the claimants have to establish that there
was no reasonable basis to treat them separately in matters of payment of wages
or salary. Then only it can be held that there has been a discrimination,
within the meaning of Article 14 of the Constitution.
the facts of present case there is no scope for applying the principle of
'equal pay for equal work' when the petitioners belong to a separate category
of Pharmacists with reference to the qualifications prescribed under the Act.
According to us, there is no element of arbitrariness in the decision of the
respondents to implement two scales of pay for two categories of Pharmacists
Grade-B. It does not violate any of the provisions of the Constitution calling
for interference by this Court.
Although we have held that the petitioners were entitled only to the pay scale
of Rs 330-480 in terms of the recommendations of the Third Pay Commission w.e.f.
January 1, 1973 and only after the period of 10 years, they became entitled to
the pay scale of Rs 330-560 but as they have received the scale of Rs 330-560
since 1973 due to no fault of theirs and that scale is being reduced in the
year 1984 with effect from January 1, 1973, it shall only be just and proper
not to recover any excess amount which has already been paid to them.
Accordingly, we direct that no steps should be taken to recover or to adjust
any excess amount paid to the petitioners due to 1 (1993) 1 SCC 539: 1993 SCC
(L&S) 221: (1993) 23 ATC 657 526 the fault of the respondents, the
petitioners being in no way responsible for the same.
The petitions are allowed in part. There will be no order as to costs.