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Multipurpose Health Workers Association & Ors Vs. State of Haryana & Anr [1996] INSC 677 (7 May 1996)

Hansaria B.L. (J) Hansaria B.L. (J) Ray, G.N. (J) Hansaria, J.

CITATION: JT 1996 (6) 111 1996 SCALE (4)457

ACT:

HEAD NOTE:

Special leave granted.

2. The appellant - association's members are Multipurpose Health Workers of Haryana. The only question we have been called upon to decide is whether the higher pay scale of Rs.1200-2040 to these workers to be made available to them with effect from 1.5.1990, instead of 1.1.1994?

3. The appellants have their claim for the earlier date on two grounds :

(1) the notification dated 26.7.1991 of the State Government raising the pay scales of " some technical posts" to Rs. 1200-2040 itself demanded the higher pay scale from 1.5.1990, as the same is the effective date of the notification: and

(2) other holders of technical posts having been given the aforesaid pay scale with effect from 1.5.1990, there exists no cogent reason to deny same to the Multipurpose Health Workers who discharge the same function as those to whom the higher pay scale was given from 1.5.1990.

4. The case of State on the other hand , is that the aforesaid notification in terms has no application to the Multipurpose Health Workers because the qualification "prescribed " by the notification is "ITI Certificates/Diploma from any Polytechnic. The case of the appellants, however, is that the certificate course of the ITI is of one year's duration and the minimum educational qualification is Matriculation, whereas the training period of the Multipurpose Health Workers is of 1-1/2 year's duration or 1 year depending upon the sex of the incumbents, and their minimum educational qualification being also Matriculation, the training imparted by the department to them has to be taken as equal to that one received in the ITIs. The State's Director General of Health Services has taken this view as would appear from his letter No.31/1 Spl.MCH-93/5791 dated 4.11.1993. One thing, however, is opparent that the concerned workers had not received the training of which the notification dated 26.7.1991 speaks of.

5. The State counsel brought to our notice the decision of Punjab and Haryana High Court taking the view that nature, content and quality of the course prescribed for the job of Multipurpose Health Worker is different from the course of an ITI/Polytechnic trained persons. Being of this view, the writ petition filed by the appellants themselves before the High Court claiming equality with others technical workers was dismissed, which came to be accepted, as this Court had not been approached making any grievance regarding the view taken by the High Court.

6. In the aforesaid premises, we entertain no doubt that the Multipurpose Health Workers are not entitled to the revised pay scale with effect from 1.5.1990 by the force of the notification.

7. In so far as the second ground is concerned, we have again been referred by the learned counsel for the appellants to the view of the Director General of Health Services as expressed in the aforesaid letter. Though it is correct that the Director General of Health Services strongly recommended the case of the appellants in his aforesaid communication, the State Government did not accept the same and decided to revise the pay scale with effect from 1.1.1994, as would appear from the communication of the Financial Commissioner and Secretary to the Government, Finance Department, dated 21.3.1994 addressed to the Director General of Health Services by referring to his letter of 4.11.1993. As the decision was taken by the Government on 11th March, 1994, the fixing of the date as 1.1.1994 to give effect to the revised pay scale cannot be said to be in any way arbitrary; it is indeed rational.

8. We do not, however, propose to decide the appeal merely on the basis of the decision of the Government to make available the higher pay scale from 11.1.1994,though the same has to be kept in mind, because the Director Generals' view has only persuasive value, it is not binding on the Government. What is more important is that though the Director General mentioned about various work done by the Health Workers - immunization, making of blood pads, engagement in family welfare programme and attending to minor ailment - we do not know about the nature and quality of duties of other holders of technical posts who were given the higher pay scale from 1.5.1990. Without this information being available to us, we cannot ask for equalization of the pay of the Health Workers with the concerned technical post holders.

9. Thus, there is no cogent reason to accept the contention of the appellant to make the revised pay scale effective from 1.5.1990. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed. In the facts and circumstances of the case, we leave the parties to bear their own costs throughout.

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