Union of India & Ors Vs. M. Lepdon Ao
& Ors  Insc 518 (1 October 2001)
Babu & Doraiswamy Raju. Rajendra Babu, J. :
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2087 OF 1998]
J U D
G M E N T
applications were filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Guwahati
Bench [hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal] by Group B, C and D employees
of different departments of the Government of India posted in the State of Nagaland
wherein they claimed that they are eligible for free furnished accommodation
but no such accommodation had been provided to them and, therefore, they are
entitled to be paid compensation in lieu of the rent free accommodation
consisting of licence fee and House Rent Allowance. Since that has been denied
to them, they approached the Tribunal for redressal.
appellants before us contended that the respondents are not entitled to such
benefits in terms of different notifications issued by the Government from time
to time. The Tribunal examined the matter and held that the respondents are
entitled to House Rent Allowance at the rate prescribed for B class cities to
the Central Government employees which would be payable at the rate of 15% from
1.1.1986 to 30.9.1986 and from 1.10.1986 at flat rate prescribed under O.M.
dated 7.8.1987 read with another O.M. dated 13.11.1987 and the notification GSR
No.623(E) amending the Fundamental Rule 45A with effect from 1.7.1987 as held
by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 2705 of 1991 [Union of India & Ors. vs.
S.K. Ghosh & Ors]. This part of the order made by the Tribunal is not in
challenge before us.
question of payment of compensation in lieu of rent free accommodation, the
Tribunal felt bound by the decision of this Court in S.K. Ghoshs case though
O.M. dated 2.8.1960 is not superseded and ordinarily the compensation would be
payable only to those who fall within the eligibility criteria thereunder. That
in view of the ratio of the decision in S.K. Ghoshs case wherein this Court
approved the view taken by the Tribunal in its order which was the subject
matter of consideration before them in appeal that the House Rent Allowance
should be paid at a particular rate and the manner in which the same could be
reduced subsequently by efflux of time was also indicated.
five applications were filed before the Tribunal, only two sets of appeals have
been preferred to this Court pertaining to employees working in Geological
Survey of India and Telecommunications Department.
Tribunal in the order under appeal had proceeded to analyse the pleadings
raised in the original application No. 42 of 1989 out of which the decision in
S.K. Ghoshs case was rendered. In that application, it appears, the claim was
that all the employees when posted in Nagaland are entitled to rent-free
accommodation and if the same is not provided for by the Government be allowed
to draw the House Rent Allowance as is admissible to the employees posted in B
class cities as categorised in the Government of India letter No. 11013/2/86-E.II(B)
dated 23.9.1986. Before this Court in Civil Appeal No. 2705 of 1991 the
question whether the employees were entitled to rent free accommodation or not
was not put in issue.
only issue posed before this Court and answered is whether employees working in
the State of Nagaland were entitled to be allowed to draw House Rent Allowance
as is admissible to employees posted in B class cities and, therefore, it was
not necessary for the Tribunal in the present case to read the pleadings raised
in that case into the judgment of this Court to come to a conclusion that there
was an assumption that all the employees posted in Nagaland were entitled to
rent free accommodation or compensation in lieu thereof since the rate of House
Rent Accommodation was one of the components of compensation in lieu of rent
we think that the decision of this Court in Civil Appeal No. 2705 of 1991 will
not be an impediment to decide the second question as to whether the employees
posted in the State of Nagaland are entitled to rent free accommodation
or compensation in lieu thereof. It is a separate and distinct question to be
decided unhindered by the decision of this Court in Civil Appeal 2705 of 1991
[Union of India & Ors.vs. S.K. Ghosh & Ors]. In the order of the
President of India the expression who are not provided with rent free
accommodation would only mean those employees who were within the eligibility
criteria prescribed in the O.M. dated 2.8.1960.
factual position is as follows :-
O.M. 12-11/60-ACC-I dated 2.8.1960 is still operative. That order clearly sets
out that it had been decided with the concurrence of the Ministry of Finance,
that where for the efficient discharge of duties, it is necessary that an
employee should live in or near the premises where he works, it would be
desirable that he should be rent-free or rent recovered at reduced rates only
if the nature of his duties or conditions under which they have to be performed
are such that a higher scale of pay or special pay etc. would be granted but
for the concession of rent-free or recovery of rent at reduced rates. It has
been decided that this concession should, in future, be allowed only with the
concurrence of the Ministry of Finance in each case.
O.M. 12-11/60-ACC-I dated 2.8.1960 is also applicable to O.Ms. dated 23.3.1986
and 22.5.1987 and also to O.M. dated 13.11.1987 which makes it clear that the
concession of compensation in lieu of rent free accommodation to be available
only to those employees who fulfil the criteria of eligibility as prescribed by
O.M. 12-11/60-ACC-I dated 2.8.1960.
adverting to certain aspects it is made clear that other terms and conditions
for admissibility of compensation in lieu of rent free accommodation would be
as indicated in the O.Ms. dated 19.2.1987 and 22.5.1987 and 22.5.1987 remains
the same. O.M. 12-11/60-ACC-I dated 2.8.1960 would be applicable in turn to
this notification as well.
respondents are not in a position to controvert this factual background. If
that is the position, in fact, the decision of this Court in Civil Appeal No.
2705 of 1991 [Union of India & Ors. vs. S.K. Ghosh & Ors.] will not
come in the way of deciding whether the respondents are not entitled to
compensation in lieu of rent free accommodation and the view taken by the
Tribunal in this regard cannot be sustained.
the conclusion is irresistible that there is no decision of the Government of
India entitling the Central government employees posted in Nagaland, except who
are eligible for the concession of rent free accommodation or compensation in
lieu thereof under O.M. 12-11/60- ACC-I dated 2.8.1960 and, therefore, the view
taken by the Tribunal in this regard has got to be set aside.
we must make it clear that if any compensation in lieu of rent free
accommodation that may have already been paid shall not be recovered.
appeals are allowed accordingly. No costs.
RAJENDRA BABU ] J.
DORAISWAMY RAJU ] OCTOBER