Railway SAS Staff Association & Ors Vs. Union
of India & Ors  INSC 29 (21 January 1998)
V. Manohar, D.P. Wadhwa
21ST DAY OF JANUARY, 1998 Present:
Mrs. Justice Sujata V.Manohar Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.P.Wadhwa Mr. S.K.Mehta, Mr,
Dhruv Mehta, Mr. Fazlin Anam and Ms. Shobha Verma, Advocates for the
appellants. Mrs. K. Amreshwari, Sr. Advocates, Mr. A.K.Sharma and Ms. Anjani Ayyengar,
Advocates with her for the respondents.
following Judgment of the Court was delivered:
appellants are aggrieved by that part of the order dated April 26, 1991 of the
Central Administrative Tribunal (for short `the Tribunal') whereby the Tribunal
did not accept their contention that they being in the pay scale of Rs.
2000-3200 be also granted the Group B status like their counterparts in the
office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the Controller
General of Defence Accounts (CGDA).
appellants had also raised another issue before the Tribunal that they should
also be granted revised pay-scale of Rs. 2000-3200 w.e.f. 1.1.1986 and not from
1.4.1987 as was granted by the respondents. The Tribunal directed the
respondents to fix the appellants in the revised scales of pay w.e.f. 1.1.1986
on notional basis and make actual payment of the differential amount consequent
to re-fixation of pay in the revised scales w.e.f. 1.4.1987. Against this part
of the relief granted to the appellants by the Tribunal, Union of India came in
appeal in this Court and by judgment dated July 15, 1994 (1995 Supp 3 SCC 600)
the court reversed the decision of the Tribunal and held that the appellants
would be entitled to revised pay scales only with effect from 1.4.1987. It is
therefore not necessary for us to go into this controversy which stands
first appellant is an Association of Subordinate Account Service (SAS) Staff
working in the Railways. Other appellants are serving in the Railways as
Section Officers or Travelling Inspectors of Accounts. The appellants contend
that in various Ministries and Departments of the Central Government, notably
Railways, Defence, Posts and Telegraphs, CAG, CGDA etc., there is an Accounts
establishment called SAS. They, therefore, contend that SAS Railways have
always been equated and granted parity with SAS (CAG) in the matter selection
grades, pay scales, status etc. and that any deviation from the traditional
parity with the SAS Railways and SAS (CAG) and SAS (CGDA) etc. would be
discriminatory and violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. The
main grievance of the appellants, therefore, is that while they have been
placed in the pay scale of Rs. 2000-3200, they have not been granted Group `B'
status as has been done in respect of their counterparts in CAG and CGDA in the
same pay scale.
genesis of the dispute it would appear relates back to the report of the Fourth
Central pay Commission (Commission for short). The Commission noted that there
were about 65,000 posts of accounts staff in Groups B and C working in
different departments/offices of the Government of India and that the posts
were in different pay scales and designation. It noted that there were organised
accounts cadres under CGDA, CAG, Railways and Departments of Posts and
Telecommunication. The Commission considered the existing pay-scale of the
accounts posts in the organised cadres and it then looked into the
representations of the associations of the accounts staff. The report of the
Commission relating to accounts staff, in relevant part, is an under:
The main demand of the associations of accounts staff under CGDA, CAG, Railways
and Departments of Posts and Telecommunications is that their pay scales should
be the same as for the staff in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department
have pointed out that there was parity all along, which was disturbed in March,
1984 when there was a restructuring of IA&AD into two separate cadres, i.e.
audit cadre and accounts & establishment cadre. As a result, higher pay
scales were give to 80 per cent of the staff on the audit side. They have also
claimed that the duties and responsibilities performed by them and the staff on
the audit side of IA&AD are comparable. The all India Defence Accounts
Association had also filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court requesting the Hon'ble Court to direct the government for
bringing the pay scales of auditors and Section officers working in the Defence
Accounts Department at par with those in the IA&AD. The writ petition was
however allowed to be withdrawn by the Supreme Court as both the parties agreed
that the questions raised in the petition would be better decide by this
Commission. The association subsequently made their submission before us both
in writing and orally.
Some of the official witnesses have also emphasised the need for parity in pay
scales between IA&AD and other departments. The Controller General of Defence
Accounts has stated that the nature of duties and responsibilities assigned to
the auditors and section officers of the defence accounts department is an
integrated on combining audit, payment, accounting, financial advice and allied
functions. He has therefore suggested that, having regard to the complexity and
arduous nature of the jobs, they should be given the highest scale of pay given
to the corresponding staff in IA&AD.
Controller General of Accounts has stated that the statutory audit functions
performed by the staff of IA&AD are in no way unique as the Internal audit
functions of the civil accounts staff under his organisation include most of
the audit functions performed by the statutory audit staff. Railway have
pointed out that their accounts cadre had a traditional parity with audit which
should be maintained considering the diversity, nature and quality of their
work. The Departments of P&T have suggested that whatever pay scales are
given to the accounts staff in other departments, should be given to the
accounts staff in these departments also.
We have considered the matter. There has all along been parity between the
staff in the IA&AD and accounts staff of other departments, which has been
disturbed by restructuring IA&AD into two separate cadres viz., audit cadre
and accounts and establishment cadre and giving higher pay scales to a major,
portion of staff on the audit side.
audit and accounts functions are complementary to each other and are generally
performed in many government offices in an integrated manner which is necessary
for their effective functioning. The staff in these offices perform functions
of internal check and audit suited to the requirements of each organisation
which are equally important. There is direct recruitment in the scale of
Rs.330- 560 in all the audit and accounts cadres through Staff Selection
Commission/Railway Recruitment Boards from amongst university graduates. We are
therefore of the view that there should be broad parity in the pay scales of
the staff in IA&AD and other accounts organisation. Accordingly, we
recommend that the posts in the pay scale of Rs. 425-700 in the organised
accounts cadres may be given the scale of Rs.1400-2600. In the Railways, this
will apply to the posts of sub-head in both the ordinary and selection grades.
We also recommend that this should be treated in future as a functional grade
requiring promotion as per normal procedure. The proposed scale of Rs.2000-3200
of section officer may also be treated as a functional grade. With the proposed
scales, there will be no selection grades for any of the posts. As regards the
number of posts in the functional scales of Rs. 1400-3600 and Rs. 2000-3200, we
note that about 53 per cent of the total posts of junior/senior auditor and 66
per cent of the total posts of ordinary and selection grade of section officer
in IA&AD are in the respective higher scales.
may decide the number of posts to be placed in the scales of
Rs.2000-3200 in the other organised accounts cadres taking this factor into
consideration. All other accounts posts may be given the scales recommended in
basis of the recommendation of the Fourth Pay Commission aforesaid, Central
Government, in the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) issued an order dated June 18, 1987 relating to restructuring of
accounts staff, which is as under:
General Managers, All Indian Railways, Production Units, etc. (As per mailing
list) Subject :- Restructuring of Accounts staff.
Fourth Central Pay Commission vide para 11.38 of Part-I of its Report have
recommended that there should be broad parity in the pay scales of the staff in
IA&AD and other Accounts Organisations. It has further recommended that the
proposed scales of pay of Rs.1400- 2600 and Rs. 2000-3200 may be treated as
functional grades in future and that there will be no selection grade for any
of these posts. As regards the number of posts in the higher functional scales,
the Commission left this matter for the Government to decide.
revised scales of the pay for the Accounts staff have already been notified
vide this Ministry's letter No. PCIV 86/Imp/Schedule/1 dated 24-9-1986. In accordance with the orders therein, certain
persons have already been allowed the higher revised scales of pay subject to
the conditions laid down therein.
question regarding number of posts to be placed in the higher scales of pay has
been under the consideration of this Ministry. It has bow been decided that the
ratio of number of posts in higher and lower scales in the accounts cadres may
be as follows:-
Section officers (A/cs.). Rs. 2000-60- 80% Inspector of Stores 2300-EB- 75-
Accounts (ISA), Inspector 3200 of Station Accounts (TIA) Rs.1640- 60- 20%
2600-EB- 75- 2900
Clerks Grade-I (including Rs.1400-40- 80% existing Sub-Heads) 1600-50- 2300-
EB-60- 2600 Rs. 1200-30- 20% 1560-EB- 40- 2040 As regards designation, orders
These orders take effect from 1-4-1987. As
regards criteria for appointment to the higher functional grades requiring
promotion to the grades of Rs.1400- 40-1600-50-2300-EB-60-2600 and Rs.2000-60-2300-EB-75-3200,
orders will follow.
(G. CHATTERJEE) Executive Director, Pay Commission.
Board." As seen above the validity of this order has been upheld by this
Court fixing the revised scale of pay with effect from 1.4.1987.
as the recommendation of the Commission is concerned revised pay scale has been
given to the appellants. There cannot be any grievance on that score as the
recommendation has been accepted by the Central Government. The Commission,
however, in its report did not recommend that posts in pay-scale of
Rs.2,000-3200 in CAG, CGDA and other Ministries and Railways be all treated as
group B posts. The Commission recognised that grouping did not strictly follow
the pattern based on pay-scale in various Ministries etc. and observed that the
existing classification for those posts might continue.
1984, the work organisation in the CAG's office was restructured and the
functioning of Audit and Accounts were separated. 80% of the posts of Section
Officers (Audit) were upgraded to the pre-revised scale of RS. 640-1040/- and
given the Group B gazetted status. The staff who were manning the accounting
functions work, however, continued in the scales of pay for the account staff.
This disturbance in the parity in pay scales between the Audit and Accounts
staff was not only resented in the establishment of CAG but also led to protest
from the Accounts staff of the Railways.
gave rise to the demand from the Railway Account staff for re-establishing the
parity in the pay scales etc. with the Audit staff in the CAG's office. The
parity in the pay scale was, however, restored on the recommendations of the
Commission and in pursuance thereof the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of
Finance, Government of India, issued instructions, among others, to the Finance
Commissioner, Railways for reconstructing the Accounts staff, as per
instructions extracted below:
The question regarding number of posts to be placed in the higher scales of pay
has been under the consideration of the Government and it has now been decided
that the ratio of number of posts in higher and lower scales in the organised
Accounts cadres as well as in Accounts Wing of the IA&AD may be as follows
Section Officer (SG) Rs.2000-60-2300-EB-75-3200 80%
Officer Rs.1640-60-2600-EB-75-2900 20%
Section Accountant Rs.1400-40-1600-50-2300-EB- 60-2600 80%
Junior Accountant Rs.1200-30-1560-EB-40-2040 20%
designations in different Organised Accounts cadres may be different. In such
cases also, the pay structure on these lines may be decided.
These orders take effect from 1.4.1987. The respective cadre controlling
authorities may now take necessary action to prescribe criteria for appointment
to the higher functional grades requiring promotion to the grades of
Rs.1400-40-1600-50-2300-EB-60-2600 and Rs. 2000-60-2300-EB-75-3200 on the same
lines as adopted for Audit stream and thereafter take necessary action to
implement these orders." As seen above the restructuring of the Accounts
cadre in the Railways had accordingly been carried out and relevant section of
the staff granted the scale of pay of Rs. 2000-3200/- which is same as in CAG
office. The appellants, however, submit that not only that they have been
granted the same pay scales but they should also be accorded parity in group
classification with their counterparts in CAG and CGDA organisations. This the
respondents are not prepared to grant.
to the level of Section Officer (Accounts), Inspector of Store Accounts,
Inspector of Station Accounts with the Railways from Upper Division Clerks etc.
is after passing an examination conducted by the Railways and it is admitted
that the standard of examination is comparable to that obtaining in the SAS
examination of the Audit Department of CAG. However, it is submitted that
standard of examination alone cannot be the sole criterion for determining
parity in all respects. As seen above, the Commission had also gone into the
question of classification of posts in the Central Government in detail and
made certain recommendation for classification of posts in various groups. But
then the Commission also recommended that where there were deviations of the
nature as recommended by it, the existing classification for those posts might
continue and the Government might, however, review the classification in such
cases as and when necessary. The Pay Commission accepted the rationale of
certain deviations from the classifications recommended by it.
respondents have submitted that the matter of classification of posts in the
Railways was examined in the context of the recommendations of the Pay
Commission but it was decided to leave the existing classification untouched.
the posts carrying pre-revised scales of Rs.700-900/- and Rs.650-960/- were granted
replacement scale of Rs.2000-3200/- and the posts carrying the scale of
Rs.840-1040/- were allotted the replacement scale of Rs.2375- 3500/- and all
these posts continued to be in Group `C' 80% of the posts of Section Officer
(Accounts) which were in the pre-revised scale of Rs. 500-900/- were given the
upgraded revised scale of Rs. 2000-3200/- and classified as Group `C' on par
with other posts which had been granted the replacement scale of Rs.
2000-3200/-. It was, therefore, submitted that within the Railways, there was
no discrimination against any section of employees. It is submitted the that
Group `B' posts in the Railways of all departments are placed in the scale of Rs.
2000-3200/- but in the Account Department it is in the scale of Rs. 2375-
3500/-. It is then submitted that appointments to Group `B' posts in the
Railways are made in accordance with certain prescribed selection procedure.
The selection process is different in the Accounts Department and other
departments in the Railways. The procedure followed in other departments of
Central Government, according to the respondents, is not relevant as each
department is free to evolve its own procedure for promotion etc. to suit its
also submitted that, while contradicting the plea of the appellants, Section
Officers in CAG, CGDA, Railways and Departments of Post and Telecommunications
did not form an organised All India Service and, therefore, their pay, status,
promotional prospects have to be decided keeping in view the peculiar and
special needs of the different departments. Respondents denied that there was
any violation of fundamental rights of the Accounts employees of the Railways
in not according Group `B' status though they were placed in the revised scale
of Rs. 2000-3200/- as their counterparts in CAG and CGDA. The Tribunal
considered various aspects of the matter and also reports of the earlier Pay
Commissions and rejected the claim of the appellants. This is how the Tribunal
examined the matter :
will be observed from the above that the intent of the Pay Commission's
observation regarding parity has been made in the context of pay scales. The
said recommendation does not allude to the status and the avenues of promotion
etc. In fact, the Pay Commission has stated that promotion from the functional
grade shall be "as per normal procedure". Obviously, the applicants
have in their mind horizontal relativity with the audit staff when they
articulate about traditional parity but this is not supported by the relevant
recommendation of the Pay Commission. Railways are a multi- disciplined organisation
and for them the internal relativities both the vertical and horizontal within
the organisation are of much greater import and relevance than a horizontal
comparison within an outside organisation/agency. In fact, no case has been
made out before us to establish that there has always been a complete parity
between the Audit staff and the Railways Accounts staff. Group `C' officers in
the Railway Accounts staff have always been subjected to a more rigorous
selection for promotion to Group `B' than has been the case in other
departments e.g. C&AG, CGDA etc. Besides, as said earlier, the Railways are
multi-disciplined and multi- dimensional organisation. This is not the case
either in the case of C&AG or in the case of organisation of CGDA etc. The
Railways cannot be expected to blindly follow the path followed by
"inclusive" organisations. Compared to C&AG, the Railways are
`exclusive' organisation, being a multi disciplined one. Besides to our mind,
there has never been complete parity between the Railway staff and the
Audit/other Accounts staff in the other departments and as observed earlier,
nor any such case has been made out. For instance, the Railway employees have
traditionally enjoyed and zealously protected certain benefits exclusively
available to them which are denied not only to other Accounts establishments
but also to the generally of Central Government employees. The traditional
parity has been only in the pay scale and this has been re-established w.e.f. 1.4.1987.
Even the parity in the pay scale is a later development consequent to broad
banding of the scale of pay by respective Pay Commissions.
case before us it is the Railway SAS employees who are seeking to be equated in
the matter of status, promotional procedure etc. with the Section Officers in
the C&AG's office and CGDA's office. The offices of CGDA and C&AG are
not multi-disciplined organisations like the Railways.
internal relativity in the Railways would thus carry great weightage with the
Railway Administration when they consider equation with outside organisations
of a section of the staff from within the organisation. The total parity with
outside organisations would disturb the internal relativities which have far-
reaching implications both positive and negative. The negative aspects of total
parity cannot be brushed under the carpet. Further the procedure for promotion
are designed to suit the special requirements of the organisational structure.
The Railways have always followed a more rigorous selection procedure, as group
`B' Accounts Officer have also per force to acquire reasonable knowledge of the
functioning of the other disciplines within the Railway to become effective in
their job besides the accounts and financial function. We do not, therefore,
see any merit in the petition for diluting the procedure of selection to Group
`B' posts followed on the Railways which has stood the test of time." We
are of the view that the Tribunal has taken a correct view of the matter. As
noted above, the Fourth Central Pay Commission had recommended that the
existing system of classification of posts in various departments of the
Central Government may be continued and had indicated the corresponding pay
limits in the revised pay structure.
Commission had also recommended that the Government might, however, review the
classification in such cases as and when necessary. The Railways reviewed the
whole position and taking into consideration various aspects of the matter
decided that the existing system of classification as in vogue in the Railways
to continue. The circumstances which went into such consideration have been
enumerated as under:
On the Railways posts in scale of Rs. 2000-3200/- and Rs.2375-3500/- are merely
off shoots of restructuring and do not in a real sense constitute a Group `B'
cadre either from the point of view of responsibilities or duties.
Adoption of the pay limits for classification implemented on the civil side
would result in placing a very large number of posts in scales Rs.1640-2900/-,
Rs.2000- 3200/- and Rs. 2375-3500/- in Group `B'. This would include the
categories like Mail Drivers, Office Superintendents, Lab. Supdts.,
Stenographers, Teachers, Sr. Console Operators, Asstt, Programmers, Chief Power
Controller, Chief Traction Loco Foreman `A'. Fuel Inspector `B' Driving
Inspector, Power Controllers, Loco Foeman (B), Traction Loco Controller, Asstt.
Loco Foreman (R), Driving Inspector, Section officer Accounts, Inspector of
Station Accounts, Inspector of Travelling Accounts, Matrons, Radiographers,
Pharmacist, Inspector in PRF, etc.
Nearly 32000 posts in scale of Rs.2000-3200/- and Rs. 2375- 3500/- would become
entitled for 3 additional 1st A passes per annum, besides eligibility to
additional luggage on these passes.
the Railways, all appointments to Gr. `B' posts are made on the basis of a
selection consisting of a written examination viva-voce and assessment of
records which is not the case on the civil side. The promotional avenues and
methodology would have to be reviewed.
present, Group `B' constitutes the managerial level, exercising control over
staff in the lower grades. If the classification norms on the civil side is adopted
on the Railways it would lead to drastic upheavals in the hierarchial
Group `B' officers are entitled to Stenographic Assistance in Scale of Rs.
1200-2040/- on a sharing basis, on the Railways. Increase in the number of
Group `B' posts would lead to the need for a corresponding increase in the
number of Stenographers in this scale.
It would lead to problems regarding accommodation on the Railways."
Classification of posts into gazetted or nongazetted cannot be done purely on
the basis of scales of pay. There can be many criteria; administrative,
procedural and others which have to be taken into consideration by the
authorities concerned before deciding on the classification. Admittedly,
Railways have a number of posts of different operative categories in department
such a Operating, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, S&T etc. where field
operators may have scales of pay of Rs.2000-3200/- or Rs. 2375-3500/- which
have been classified as Group `C' only. As such it cannot be said that there is
any discrimination against the Account staff in the scale of Rs. 2000-3200/-.
Associate Banks Officers Association vs. State Bank of India & Ors. [JT
1997 (8) S.C. 422] employees unions of various banks which were subsidiaries of
the State Bank of India under the State Bank of India (Subsidiaries Bank) Act,
1959 claimed higher terminal benefits, better medical facilities and extra
increments in their pay-scale on the ground that such benefits were available
to the employees holding equivalent or similar ranks in the State Bank of
India. This Court declined to give relief to the petitioners and said that
"equal pay for equal work for both men and women" was one of the
Directive Principles of State Policy laid down in Article 39(d) of the Constitution
had been applied in cases of irrational discrimination in the pay- scales of
workers doing the same or similar work in an organisation and that it had not
been applied when there was a basis or an explanation for the difference. The
Court said that extending this principle to compare pay-scales in one organisation
with pay-scales in another organisation would be stretching of the doctrine
even though between the employees doing comparable work and if at all it had to
be applied it must be done with caution lest the doctrine snaps. This Court
said that many ingredients go into the shaping of wage structure in any organisation
and that a simplistic approach, granting higher remuneration to other workers
in other organisations because another organisation had granted them, might
lead to undesirable results. In the present case what we find is that the
appellants have been granted the same pay-scale as that given to the staff in
the Indian Audit and Accounts Department. Their grievance here is that they
should be given the same status viz., their post be incorporated in Group B
post as is existing in the CAG and CGDA.
State of Punjab and others vs. Om Parkash Kaushal and others (1996) 5 SCC 325
the State Government granted uniform pay scales to the teachers employed in
various privately managed schools in the State of Punjab. The pay scales were
similar to the pay scales drawn by the Government teachers. This was in
pursuance to Section 7 of the Punjab Privately Managed Recognised School
Employees (Security of Service) Act, 1979. There was no dispute that the pay
scales and dearness allowance which were being paid to the private teachers
were not less than what was being paid to the Government teachers holding
private teachers however wanted that their conditions of service should be same
as that of Government teachers. This Court negatived this plea and said that
other conditions of service relating to the Government teachers could not be
extended to private teachers.
Central Railway Audit Staff Association and others vs. Director of Audit,
Central Railway and others 1993 Supp (3) SCC 458 the employees belonging to the
Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, working in the Railway
Audit Department were Designated as Section Officer prior to March 1, 1984.
They got promotion from that day as Assistant Audit Officers and were
designated as Officers Group B Gazetted. On the recommendations of the Fourth
Pay Commission, pay scale of Assistant Audit Officer was revised to Rs.
2000-3200 from January
1, 1986. The grievance
of these Assistant Audit Officers Group B Gazetted was that the Indian Railways
should not have denied to them the benefits, such as, issue of Railway Travel
Passes/P.T.Os, allotment of Railway Quarters, giving of accommodation in Rest
Houses/Retiring Rooms, taking of family members while on tour, etc.- which
benefits were admissible to Group B Gazetted Officers of the Railways. It was
submitted on behalf of the Railways that the fact that the Assistant Audit Officers
in Railway Audit Department, on the pay scale of Rs. 2000-3200 but designated
by the CAG of India as Group B Gazetted was not sufficient to equate them with
Group B Officers of the Railways who held higher posts with scale of pay of Rs.
2000-3500 and that if the Railways gave facilities and privileges to the
Assistant Audit Officers, who were not Railway servants, treating them on a par
with railway servants of Group `B', they could find no valid reason to deny
such facilities and privileges to the railway servants holding posts on the pay
scale of Rs. 2000-3200.
Railway further said that if that had to be done, the Indian Railways would be
required to extend similar facilities and privileges to all railway servants
who hold posts in the Indian Railways on the scale of pay of Rs.2000-3200 which
meant extending the benefits to thousands of railway servants involving heavy
financial burden on the Railways. This Court found that the contentions raise
on behalf of the Assistant Audit Officers were unacceptable in that, if
accepted, they would lead to unjust results of the Indian Railways conferring
special privileges and facilities upon persons belonging to foreign department
of Comptroller and Auditor General of India while their own servants who held
equivalent posts on the same scale of pay would be denied such privileges and
facilities. The Court, therefore, found substance in the submissions made on
behalf of the Railways.
the simplistic solution to classification merely based on the scales of pay
might lead into various complications and might lead to administrative hierarchial
imbalances in any particular organisation. Selection procedure for appointment
to a particular group post and requirements of a department for classification
of posts are valid considerations and any disturbance thereof would certainly
lead to compounding of problems. We, therefore, cannot subscribe to the view
that the scale of pay alone can be the criteria for classification of posts.
Respondents have given valid and justifiable reasons as to why the Account
staff in the scale of Rs. 2000-3200/- cannot be put at par with their
counterparts in CAG of CGDA in respect of putting the Account staff in Group
`B' posts merely on the basis of parity of pay scales.
is no merit in this appeal. Therefore, the appeal is dismissed with costs.