Sahib Singh Vs. State
of Haryana & Ors.  INSC 1734 (15 October 2008)
JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5056 OF 2002 SAHIB SINGH .......APPELLANT(S)
Versus WITH CIVIL APPEAL NO.5057 OF 2002
appellants in these two appeals were working as Turner and Electrician
respectively in the office of Executive Engineer, Satluj Yamuna Link Project,
Irrigation Department of the Government of Haryana. In the year 1997, the pay
scale applied to them was Rs.950-1500. The appellants gave representations to
the department for revision of pay scales from Rs.950-1500 to Rs.1200-2040 on
the ground that turners and electricians in the Transport Department and other
departments of the State Government had been extended the benefit of pay scale
of Rs.1200-2040. After considering their representations, the Executive
Engineer, by office order dated 22.4.1997, informed the appellants that their
pay was refixed in the higher pay scale of Rs.1200-2040, subject to verification
by the Accounts Officer. In pursuance of it, the appellants were paid the
refixed salary in the increased pay scale with effect from April 1997.
the matter was referred to the Accounts Officer, he pointed out that the
Executive Engineer had no authority to extend the benefit of higher pay scale
to the apellants. Consequently, the Executive Engineer, by order dated
12.12.2000, withdrew the higher pay scale and directed recovery of the excess
salary paid. As the said order was passed without issuing a show-cause notice,
subsequently a show-cause notice dated 16.1.2001 was issued to the appellants.
The said show-cause notice gave the reason for withdrawal. It stated that the
functions of turners, fitters and electricians in the Transport Department were
different from the functions of turners, fitters and electricians in the
Irrigation Department and, therefore, the pay scales applicable to turners,
fitters and electricians in the Transport Department could not be extended to
aggrieved, the appellants approached the Punjab & Haryana High Court. Their
writ petitions were rejected by the High Court by orders dated 17.5.2001.
The said orders are
have considered the rival submissions. The contention of the appellants is that
except the Irrigation Department all other departments in the State have
extended the higher pay scales of Rs.1200-2040 to turners, fitters and
-3- electricians and
there was no reason why the said pay scale should not be extended to them. It
is also contended that their representations for higher pay scale were
considered and accepted by the department and they had been paid salary in the
higher pay scale from 1997 to 2000. They submit that there was no justification
for withdrawing the higher pay scale. The respondents, on the other hand, have
pointed out that the extension of benefit of higher pay scale was contrary to
the rules; that the Executive Engineer had no authority to give a higher pay
scale; that at all events, the order was provisional and subject to acceptance,
verification and approval by the Accounts Officer; that the Accounts Officer
did not approve the same; and that therefore the Executive Engineer who had
issued the order earlier was justified in withdrawing the same.
rightly contended by the respondents, merely because the turners, fitters and
electricians in some other departments were given the benefit of higher pay
scale, it is not possible to hold that the persons holding posts of similar
description in the Irrigation Department should also be extended the benefit of
higher pay scale.
Admittedly, there has
been no equation of the posts of turners, fitters and electricians in the
Irrigation Department to the posts of turners, fitters and electricians in
other departments. The ........4.
-4- respondents have
contended that the qualifications, functions and duties of turners, fitters and
electricians in the Irrigation Department were different from the
qualifications, functions and duties of turners, fitters and electricians in
other departments. Further revision of pay scales or extension of higher pay
scale could not be directed or ordered by the Executive Engineer. It is a
matter of policy where State Government has to take the decision.
the circumstances, we find no reasons to interfere with the order of the High
Court. We, however, make it clear that insofar as the excess amount paid
between 1997 and 2000, the same shall not be recovered as the payment was not
on account of misrepresentation or fraud on the part of the appellants
concerned and the department had paid the said excess amounts being bonafide
under the impression that they were entitled to such higher pay scales.
counsel for the appellants submitted that the appellant Sahib Singh in C.A. No.
5056/2002 has retired, but his retirement benefits have been withheld in view
of the pendency of his appeal in this Court. If so, the State Government shall
release the same without any delay in accordance with law.
-5- 8. Subject to
the said modifications, the appeals are disposed of.
( R.V. RAVEENDRAN )