Kumar Vs. Union of India & Ors  Insc 36 (13 January 2005)
Balakrishnan & P.K. Balasubramanyan
APPEAL NO.1023, 1024, 1026 AND 1025 OF 2001] P.K. BALASUBRAMANYAN, J.
appellants were working as Drivers Grade-C in the Central Railways. They, along
with Drivers Grade-A and Drivers Grade-B, were entitled to be considered for
selection to the higher post of Loco supervisors. The appellants as drivers, in
addition to the scale of pay at Rs.150-240, were also entitled to a running
allowance of 30% of the salary which was liable to be added to their basic pay.
They were promoted between the years 1970 and 1974 as Loco Supervisors in the
Grade of Rs.700-900.
Railways accepted the recommendations of the IV Pay Commission with effect from
1.1.1986. This increased the pay of the Drivers as well as their running
allowance, being 30% of their basic pay.
persons who were working as Drivers Grade-A were promoted as Loco Supervisors
in the year 1986. The pay revision with effect from 1.1.1986 not only increased
their pay, but also the running allowance of those working as Drivers as on
that day, it being 30% of their increased basic pay. This resulted in the
appellants getting a lesser pay as Loco Supervisors than those promoted after
1.1.1986 since they did not have the advantage of the increased 30% addition in
their running allowance and they had to be content with the 30% running
allowance on their pay prior to the pay revision. Representations were made by
the appellants pointing out that though they were promoted as Loco Supervisors
earlier, they were getting lesser pay than those Drivers promoted subsequent to
1.1.1986 and some of whom were their juniors. The General Manager took up their
grievance and a circular was issued authorizing the stepping up of the pay of
the appellants. The pay was thus stepped up and arrears paid. But subsequently
in the year 1992, the said circular was withdrawn on the basis that Codal
Conditions had to be fulfilled for getting stepped up pay and they did not fulfil
that condition. A person similarly situated as the appellants along with
certain others, approached the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jabalpur challenging the withdrawal of the
stepped up pay. The Administrative Tribunal upheld their claim. The decision of
the Administrative Tribunal was challenged by the Union of India in this Court.
By Judgment dated 14.7.1997 reported as Union of India and others vs. O.P. Saxena
(1997) 6 SCC 360, this Court allowed the appeal, set aside the order of the
Administrative Tribunal and dismissed the applications filed before the
Administrative Tribunal by persons similarly situated as the appellants.
these cases the Central Administrative Tribunal, Bombay rejected the challenge of the appellants to the withdrawal
of the stepped up pay. The appellants challenged the said decision before the
High Court of Bombay. The High Court dismissed the writ petitions. It is the
dismissal of those writ petitions that are challenged before us.
Learned counsel for the respondents, at the outset, submitted that the question
raised by the appellants is covered against them by the decision of this Court
in Union of India and others vs. O.P. Saxena
(supra) and these appeals have only to be dismissed in the light of the said
decision. Learned counsel for the appellants in that context argued that the
decision in Union of India and others vs. O.P. Saxena (supra) was
distinguishable. He alternatively contended that the said decision requires
reconsideration since this Court had assumed that Codal Conditions, especially
Rule 1316 of the Indian Railway Establishment Code (for short "the
Code"), applied to persons similarly situated as the appellants and this
erroneous assumption has led to the conclusion in that case, which was also
erroneous. It was submitted that the said decision related to claims by those
who were juniors to one Mr. Kareer who got promoted as a Loco Supervisor from
Driver Grade-A whereas in the present case, the appellants were seniors to Mr. Kareer
when they were promoted as Loco Supervisors from the post of Drivers Grade-C.
Since the claim is by those who were seniors to Mr. Kareer, the decision of
this Court did not apply to the appellants.
going through the decision in Union of India and others vs. O.P. Saxena (supra)
we find that it is not possible to accept the distinction sought to be made by
the learned counsel for the appellants between those involved in the said
decision and in the present case. The appellants also opted to be promoted to
the Stationary Post of Loco Supervisors directly from the post of Drivers
Grade-C and their promotions were also made prior to 1.1.1986. It was the claim
of such persons that was considered by this Court in the said reported decision
and this Court held that those who were promoted before 1.1.1986 did not
satisfy the codal conditions and Rule 1316 of the Code Vol.II, governing the
principle of stepping up of pay. This Court held that going by Rule 1316, the
persons promoted from Drivers Grade-C to the post of Loco Supervisors before
1.1.1986 were not entitled to stepped up pay and could not claim the benefit of
the circular dated 8.4.1988 and the withdrawal of that circular regarding
persons similarly situated in the year 1992 was justified. The factum of
seniority of Mr. Kareer was only incidentally referred to. The decision was not
rested on that fact or aspect at all.
argument that the codal conditions and Rule 1316 did not apply to the
appellants and that they were assumed to apply in that decision, could not also
be accepted. The argument that it was assumed that Rule 1316 applied, is found
to be not tenable. The Court considered the question whether Rule 1316 applied
and noticed the conditions to be fulfilled to enable the seniors to claim
parity of pay with those subsequently promoted. This Court held that the
conditions were not satisfied in the case of persons similarly situated as the
appellants and based on it, the conclusion was arrived at that they were not
entitled to the stepped up pay. This Court also noticed that the sources of
recruitment to the post of Loco Supervisors in the case of drivers took in
Drivers Grade-A, Drivers Grade-B and Drivers Grade-C and hence the sources were
different and that made the principle of stepping up of pay inapplicable. Thus,
we find that the decision of this Court in the Union of India and others vs.
O.P. Saxena (supra) cannot either be distinguished or taken to be based on an
assumption regarding applicability of Rule 1316. We find that the claim of the
appellants is squarely covered by the decision in Union of India and others vs.
O.P. Saxena (supra) necessarily justifying the rejection of their claim by the
Central Administrative Tribunal and the High Court. We are also in respectful
agreement with the view that Rule 1316 has application and that the appellants
do not satisfy the conditions of that Rule.
Having considered the arguments in that behalf and having carefully gone
through the decision in Union of India and others vs. O.P. Saxena (supra), we
do not find any justification in doubting the correctness of the said decision
rendered by a Bench of three Judges.
consideration of the relevant aspects, we find that this Court had considered
all the relevant aspects while rendering the said decision and there is no
reason for not applying the ratio of the said decision or for doubting its
correctness. We are, therefore, of the view that the argument that the said
decision requires reconsideration, is without substance.
the light of the decision in Union of India and others vs. O.P. Saxena (supra)
the decision of the Central Administrative Tribunal as affirmed by the High
Court of Bombay, challenged before us, has only to be sustained. We, therefore,
confirm the decision of the High Court and dismiss these appeals. However, in
the circumstances, we make no order as to costs.