Narayan Chowdhury & Ors Vs. Union of India & Ors  INSC 766 (30
K.Ramaswamy, K.Majmudar S.B. (J)
1996 AIR 751 1996 SCC (7) 1 JT 1995 (9) 112
APPEAL NO.9313 OF 1995 Gopal Chakraborty & Ors.V Union of India & Ors.
O R D
these appeals the only question is whether the appellants-motor pump attendants
- are semi-skilled or skilled workers as determined in the Government circular
dated May 11, 1983. After the III Pay Commission, mazdoors
working in the military engineering have been classified as unskilled and their
scale of pay is Rs.196-232, semi-skilled Rs.200 to 290; skilled Rs.260 to 400
and highly skilled grade II Rs.330-480, highly skilled grade I Rs.380-560. As a
consequence of fitment, all the unskilled mazdoors, chowkidars who passed the
test, were initially classified into skilled category and later it was
discovered that it was a wrong classification. Consequently, directions were
issued to fit them in the semi-skilled category and direction to recover the
arrears paid during the period of 1984 to 1986 was also given. Some of the
persons came to challenge these orders before different Benches of the Central
Administrative Tribunal. In the Cuttack Bench, the same categories of persons
filed O.A. 382/87. The Tribunal held that they being unskilled, are to be
classified as semi-skilled since they had passed the test and the semi- skilled
is a feeder post to the skilled category, namely, Rs.260-400. Accordingly,
while upholding the reversion, directed not to recover the arrears.
No.796/87 was filed before the Administrative Tribunal, Calcutta Bench. In the
first instance, the Bench had held that the reversion was bad and consequently
directed restoration of their category into skilled category. When the matter
was challenged by way of Special Leave Petition, that was dismissed in limine.
In the meanwhile, another Bench of Calcutta Administrative Tribunal in the
impugned order, following the Cuttack Bench, upheld the reversion but set aside
the order of recovery of arrears. Thus these appeals by special leave.
the learned senior counsel for the appellants contended that the appellants
having passed the prescribed test became skilled and that, therefore, they were
properly fitted into the grade of Rs.260-400 in the year 1984 and their
reversion to semi-skilled category i.e., Rs.210-290 is illegal. He further
contends that the decision of the first Bench of CAT, Calcutta is proper and this Court had put
seal of approval and that therefore the view of the latter Bench and that of
the Cuttack Bench are clearly illegal. We find no force in the contention.
Calcutta Bench in the first instance obviously proceeded on the wrong premise,
namely, they passed the test and hence become skilled category workmen and also
while holding those posts their performance was not found to be unsatisfactory.
Therefore, the orders were held to have been vitiated by error of law. That is
wholly misconceived view.
only relevant question to be considered is whether the Chowkidars and mazdoors
working as motor pump operators and having passed their tests, would be fitted
into the semi- skilled category or skilled category. It is not in dispute that
semi-skilled is a feeder post for the skilled category.
they had passed the test, they are necessarily to be fitted into semi-skilled
category so that after putting required length of service and other
considerations, they would become eligible for promotion into skilled grade.
these circumstances, the necessary consequence would be that they would be
fitted into the category of semi- skilled, consequent to the recommendation of
the III Pay Commission. Obviously, realising this mistake the latter Bench had
held to fit them into the category of semi-skilled and assign the appropriate
scale of pay. Being semi-skilled, their scale of pay indisputably is
Rs.210-260. Accordingly, their fitment is correctly assigned as semi-skilled
and it is not a case of reversion but one of proper fitment. Under these
circumstances, the view of the first Bench of the Calcutta CAT is clearly
erroneous in law.
settled law that even the dismissal of Special Leave Petition in limine without
assigning reasons does not operate as res judicata. Under these circumstances,
we are of the view that the view of the latter Bench of the CAT, Calcutta and of the Cuttack Bench are
clearly consistent with the above reasoning. Therefore, we do not find that
these are fit cases warranting interference. The appeals are accordingly
dismissed. No costs.