Prabhat Kiran Maithani & Ors Vs.
Union of India & ANR  INSC 41 (3 February 1977)
BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH (CJ) BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH
(CJ) KAILASAM, P.S.
CITATION: 1977 AIR 1553 1977 SCR (2) 911 1977
SCC (2) 365
RF 1992 SC1203 (11)
Pay Scales and revised pay scales of computers
showed as identical in the Second Pay Commission Report--Right to be equated as
Research Assistants Grade 11 both in status and in pay is entirely within the
sphere of the function of the Pay Commission--Effect of the Report of the Third
Constitution of India, 1950--Article 32 can
be resorted to only for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights--Equation of
posts is not a duty which the court under Art. 32 or the High Court under Art.
226 was competent to carry out.
In the 1959 Second Pay Commission Report, the
pay scales and the revised pay scales of the Computers were shown as identical
with that of the Research Assistants Grade II, even though the 'two posts were
shown as separate classes.
The Third Pay Commission Report, however,
showed that the Computers not only belonged to a separate class of their own
but received less pay than Research Assistants' Grade II.
The petitioners assailed this view under Art.
32 of the Constitution as violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution
on the ground that they had a Fundamental Right to be equated both in status as
well as in Day to that of Research Assistants, Grade II.
Dismissing the petition the Court.
HELD: (1) Equation of posts and equation of
pay are matters entirely within the sphere of the function of the Pay
Commission. These are questions entirely unfit for determination upon a
petition for a writ for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights. It requires,
firstly, formulation of correct criteria for each classification and, secondly.
the application of these criteria to facts relating to the functions and the
qualifications for each class.
The Pay Commission had done this in the
instant case elaborately,. [912 F, 913 B-C] (2) The Court, under Art. 32.
neither has wider powers nor can do it with greater facility than a High Court
cannot, when exercising its writ issuing jurisdiction. This Court had already
laid down that equation of posts is not a duty which the High Court was
competent to carry out in proceedings under Art. 226. [913 D] Union of India v.
G.R. Prabhavalkar & Co.  (3) SCR 714, referred (3) The question,
whether there is or there is not enough material on record in a particular case
to establish the basis of a particular discrimination is one of fact for the
determination of which no hard and fast rules can be laid down. A
discrimination which involves the invocation of Art. 14 is not necessarily
covered by Art. 16. In the instant case, even the material relied upon by the
petitioners shows the Computers and Research Assistants Grade II are classified
separately, and, therefore, the validity of that classification cannot be
displaced by the kind of evidence relied on. Until that classification is shown
to be unjustified, no question of violating Article 16 can arise.
[913 G-H, 914 A] Purshottam Lal and Ors. v.
Union of India & Anr.  (1) SCC 651 held inapplicable.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Writ Petition No. 43
S.C. Agarwal for the Petitioners.
912 L.N. Sinha, Sol Genl. and B. Datta for
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
BEG, C.J.--The petitioners before us are employees of the Forest Research
Institute and Colleges Dehra Dun in the posts designated as Computers. Their
grievance is that they should be treated as Research Assistants Grade II and
given the same scale of pay and other conditions of service as are applicable
to Research Assistants Grade II. The respondents, Union of India and the
President of the Forest Research Institute deny that the petitioners are
entitled to be treated as Research Assistants Grade II. The petitioners rely
upon certain alleged admissions on behalf of the opposite parties, on certain
classifications of Computers in the past, prior to the recommendations the
Third Pay Commission 1973 as well as on the last mentioned report of the
Central Pay Commission. Furthermore, learned counsel has invited Union of India
and another [1973 (1) S.C.C. 651] whereupon a Writ Petition by Computers, they
were shown as having been given identical scales of pay with the Research
Assistants Grade II. This decision however, does not deal with any controversy
as to the correct classification of computers in comparison with Research
Assistants Grade II. All we need say is that this case deals with the position
under the Report of 1959 of' the Second Pay Commission which has no bearing on
the position which follows from the Report of the Third Pay Commission of 1973.
Moreover, it is evident that even at that time Research Assistants Grade II and
Computer were shown as separate classes even though their pay scales and the
revised pay scales were shown as identical. Thus the claim of the petitioners
is that this Court should not only include the Computers amongst Research
Assistants Grade II, which is not borne out even from the Report of the Second
Pay Commission, but go further and equate their pays, so that. even though they
belong to different classes, their scales of pay may be identical. We are
afraid this is a matter which lay entirely within the sphere of the functions
of the Pay Commission. This Court cannot satisfactorily decide such disputed
questions on the sale under material on which the learned counsel for the
petitioner relies in order to displace what appears to us to be, prima facie,
the effect of the Report of the Third Pay Commission of 1973. This report shows
that Computers not only belong to a separate class of their own but received
less pay than Research Assistants of Grade II.
Learned Counsel for the petitioner's tried to
get out of the report of the Third Pay Commission contained in Chapter XVII
relating to the Economists and Statisticians, wherein Computers are mentioned
and dealt with in paragraphs 32 to 34, by asserting that their case should be
covered by either Chapter XV, which deals with "Scientific Services"
(specifically mentioned therein) or Chapter XXI, concerned with Ministry of
Agriculture, where the Forest Research Institute and Colleges are mentioned in
paragraphs 58 onwards. It seems to us to be erroneous to attempt to place
Computers in Chapter XV, which deals with specified "Scientific
Services" where Computers are not mentioned, or in Chapter XXI, which also
does not mention Computers at all. Learned Counsel for the petitioners tried to
take advantage of the fact that paragraphs dealing with the Forest Research
Institute in Chapter XXI do not mention Computers. It does not follow from this
that Computers necessarily belong to the class into which the petitioners want
to get in without showing what the criteria and functions of persons entitled
to be treated as Research Assistants of Grade II are as compared with the
Computers who, prima facie belong to another class of workers dealing with
statistics even though they may be in some way assisting in research or three
may be some common functions. Indeed, everyone working in a research institute
could, in some way, be said to be assisting in research. We think that these
are questions entirely unfit for determination upon a petition for a Writ for
the enforcement of fundamental rights.
It requires: firstly, formulation of correct
criteria for each classification; and, secondly, the application of these
criteria to facts relating to the functions and qualifications for each class.
The Pay Commission had done this elaborately.
The learned Solicitor General has invited our
attention to the case of Union of India v. G.R. Prabhavalkar & Ors.
reported in 1973 (3) S.C.R. 714, where this
Court held that equation of posts is not a duty which the High Court was
competent to carry out in proceedings under Article 226. We do not think that
we have wider powers or that we can do with greater facility what a High Court
cannot when exercising its writ issuing jurisdiction.
The learned counsel for the petitioners has
tried to take us at some length into the material on which he assails the view
taken by the opposite parties. We are unable to agree that, on the material
placed before us, we can accept the petitioners' interpretation of facts to
which our attention was drawn. We are unable to consider other material also to
which our attention was attempted to be drawn because, on the basis of the
materials shown to us, we are satisfied that such matters are not fit for determination
by us on the kind of material sought to be placed before us.
Finally, learned counsel for the petitioners
pleaded that we may permit him to raise this matter before an Administrative or
Service Tribunal if and when one is constituted. It is not necessary for us to
give him any permission to do that. We may however observe that the petitioners
are at liberty to pursue other remedies, including those which may be available
to them if any such Tribunal is set up in future. We want to make it clear that
the question whether there is or there is not enough material on record in a
particular case to establish the basis of a particular discrimination is one of
fact for the determination of which no hard and fast rules can, be laid down.
Moreover, a discrimination, which involves the invocation of Article 14, is not
necessary covered by Article 16. We do not propose to discuss here the
differences between Articles 14 and 16, because we think that, even the
material relied upon on behalf of the petitioners before us shows that
Computers and Research Assistants Grade II are classified separately.
The validity of that classification cannot,
914 we think, be displaced by the kind of evidence relied upon on behalf of the
petitioners. And, until that classification is shown to be unjustified, no
question of violating Article 16 can arise. We, therefore, leave the
petitioners to other means of redress if they still feel aggrieved.
The result is that we dismiss the Writ
Petition, but make no order as to costs.
S.R. Petition dismissed.