Unni Menon Vs Union of
India & Ors
appeal has been filed against the final judgment and order dated 12th April,
2004 passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore rendered in Civil Writ Petition
No. 33496 of 2000(S-CAT) whereby the High Court set aside and quashed the order
passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Bangalore, (`CAT' for short)
dated 1st March, 2000 and held that the Accounts Department in the CAT does not
fall within the ambit of `Organized Accounts Cadres'.
may notice here the essential facts necessary for the adjudication of the
present appeal. Unni Menon, appellant herein, joined the Indian Audit and Accounts
Department as Upper Division Clerk w.e.f. 10th October, 1967. He thereafter
cleared the SAS examination and was promoted as Section Officer, w.e.f. 24th
October, 1973, in the office of Accountant General, Bangalore, Karnataka. The
appellant was further promoted as Assistant Accounts Officer w.e.f. 1st April,
1987 by virtue of his seniority and merit.
he was working as Assistant Accounts Officer in the office of the Accountant
General, he went on deputation to work in the CAT, Bangalore Bench w.e.f. 21st
August, 1989. As the appellant was on deputation, his lien was maintained in
his parent department, i.e., Accountant General, Karnataka Circle, Bangalore.
On the basis of his lien and seniority, he was promoted as Accounts Officer in
his parent office, i.e., in office of the Accountant General, Bangalore, w.e.f.
1st April 1992. Thereafter, he was absorbed as Accounts Officer in the Central Administrative
Tribunal w.e.f. 23rd March, 1994.
IV Pay Commission made certain recommendations in the matter of pay scales
between the Accounts Officers in the Accounts Wing and the Accounts Officers in
the Audit Wing of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department. The relevant extract
of the recommendations is as under :- "There has all along been parity
between the staff in the IA & AD and Accounts staff and other Departments
which has been disturbed by restructuring of IA & AD into two separate cadres
viz, Audit Cadre and Accounts and Establishment Cadre and giving higher pay scales
to a major portion of staffs on the audit side.
The 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 organization 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. Therefore, in view of
this, there should be board parity in the pay scales of the staff of IA &
AD and other accounts organizations. Accordingly, it is recommended that the
posts in the pay scale of Rs. 475-700 in the organized accounts cadres may be
given the scale of Rs. 1400-2600."
to the recommendations of the IV Pay Commission, Government of India issued a
circular vide No. F.6(82)/IC/91 dated 22nd September, 1992 giving promotional
grade for Audit/Accounts Officers of `Organized Accounts Cadres'.
is the case of the appellant that he should have been promoted to the cadre of
Sr. Accounts Officer w.e.f. 1st April, 1995 on his completion of three years'
of service in the cadre of Accounts Officer in the scale of Rs. 2375 - 3500
pursuant to the aforesaid circular dated 22nd September, 1992. He further
pointed out that the persons junior to him in his parent department had been
promoted on completion of three years' service. Since the nature of duties
performed and responsibilities shouldered by him in CAT are identical or very similar
to the duties and responsibilities in the parent cadre, he was entitled to parity
in designation and pay with his counterparts in the Indian Audit & Accounts
aggrieved, the appellant made a representation to the Chairman, CAT, New Delhi.
The Chairman, CAT, New Delhi wrote to the Department of Personnel and Training,
Bangalore. The matter was taken up by Department of Personnel and Training in a
detailed manner for conversion of 80% posts of Accounts Officer/ Junior
Accounts Officer to the post of Senior AIO, AAO and Senior Accountant vide letter
dated 16th September, 1997.
CAT, Principal Bench, New Delhi informed the Registrar, CAT, Bangalore, that as
the CAT did not have `Organized Accounts Cadres', therefore, the benefit of
O.M. dated 22nd September, 1992, could not be extended to the appellant and,
therefore, he is not entitled to get the promotion as mentioned under the Memorandum
dated 22nd September, 1992. Subsequently, the CAT rejected appellant's plea for
promotion to the cadre of Sr. Accounts Officer.
appellant then filed an application being OA No. 15 of 1999 before the CAT,
Bangalore. The CAT vide its final order dated 1st March, 2000 allowed his application
and held that CAT is also to be considered as an `Organized Accounts Cadre'.
The CAT actually noticed that the appellant having been absorbed in CAT,
Bangalore, w.e.f. 23rd March, 1994, about one year prior to his completion of
three years, had lost his lien in the parent department. It had been duly terminated
on 26th March, 1994.
noticed as above, the CAT also noticed that Central Administrative Tribunal
(Accounts Personnel Posts) Recruitment Rules, 1990 (hereinafter referred to as
`Recruitment Rules, 1990'), were applicable to the officials of CAT. But on
interpretation of the aforesaid rules, it observed that the recruitment rules
would indicate that there is an `Organized Accounts Cadre', even though there
is no `Organized Accounts Service' in CAT. Therefore, the respondents,
according to CAT, were making an artificial distinction between` Organized
Accounts Cadres' and `Organized Accounts Services', which very much existed in
The conclusion was
justified on the basis that the recruitment rules clearly provided a hierarchy
of posts available in the accounts cadre. The highest post available is `Deputy
Controller of Accounts, next one Accounts Officer, the third one Junior
Accounts Officer, the fourth one Senior Accountant and then the Junior
Accountant'. It, therefore, held that CAT has an `Organized Accounts Cadre' and
the Memorandum dated 22nd September, 1992 would be applicable. It was further
observed by CAT that the O.M. dated 22ndSeptember, 1992, has a general
application to all Organized Accounts Cadres. Its application cannot be restricted
only to some specified cadres. The action of the respondents was held to be arbitrary
This would be evident
from the following observations in the order of CAT:- "Annexure A - 4
which is by Govt. of India, Ministry of Commerce dated 10.09.1995, this order
deals with similar cases where two officers of Commerce Department by names, Smt.
Dhakshayani Ramalingam and Shri. V. K. Gopalakrishnan who were Account Officers
in the zones of Madras and Cochin were sent on deputation where they were
observed in the regular service of those zones and those posts of account
officers are also isolated posts. In such cases, the Government of India has created
promotional posts as prayed by this applicant in this case and in pursuance of
this O. M. at Annexure A1 those officers were directed to be appointed after
following due process by following principles of fitness.
This letter would
clearly show that at that time the Government has not taken the objection that because
those officers are from isolated posts and did not belong to the organized
accounts cadres, they were not entitled. On the other hand, this benefit was
given to those officers. In view of enclosure to Annexure A4 when the applicant
is also similarly placed, we have to hold that he is also entitled for similar consideration
by the Government." With the aforesaid observations CAT held that the Accounts
Department is also to be considered as an `Organized Accounts Cadre'. The
respondents were directed to reconsider the representations of the appellant
and to pass suitable orders in the light of the observations made in the order
within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of the
by the aforesaid order of the CAT, the respondents filed a writ petition before
the High Court of Karnataka. The Division Bench of the High Court has allowed
the writ petition and set aside the impugned order of CAT. The application
filed by the appellant before the CAT has been dismissed.
by the judgment of the High Court, the appellant is before us in the present
appeal. The short question which arises in these proceedings was formulated by
the High Court as follows:- "Whether the respondent is entitled to be considered
for promotion as Sr. Accounts Officer in CAT with effect from 1-4-1995 base on
the Official Memorandum dated 23.3.1992 bearing No.2402-GE.II/116-92?"
the aforesaid question, the High Court held:-
Central Administrative Tribunal is a separate entity created under statute, is
not a department of the Central Government
Official Memorandum in question is issued for the purpose of re-designating the
promotional grade of Audit/Accounts Officers in `Organized Accounts Cadres' as
Sr. Audit Officer, Sr. Accounts Officer. Consequent upon the creation of
promotional grade for 80 per cent of the Audit/Accounts Officer in a different
Memorandum specifically states that it is applicable to Indian Audits and Accounts
Department and other `Organized Accounts Cadres', except Railway Accounts
at best, it could apply to all Central Government departments and every
establishment under the Central Services, where there is an organized cadre.
is no possibility of re-designation of posts in CAT as there is no post of Sr.
Accounts Officer in the hierarchy of the accounts cadre of the CAT.
cadre hierarchy in CAT is regulated by the Recruitment Rules, 1990.
The Division Bench noticed
the provision contained in Rule 3 which governs the number of posts,
classification and their scales of pay which read as under:- "The number
of the said posts, their classification and the scale of pay attached thereto
shall be as specified in column 2 to 4 of the said schedule".
are entirely in agreement with the observations made by the High Court. We may,
however, add that the respondent having lost his lien in the parent department
w.e.f. 26th March, 1994, cannot claim the benefit of the O.M. dated 22nd
September, 1992, as by the relevant time, he was born on the cadre of Accounts
Department of CAT. The promotions, if any of junior in the parent department
would be of no relevance for consideration of the case of the appellant. The
service conditions of the officers of CAT are admittedly governed by the
Recruitment Rules, 1990. Schedule 2 of the aforesaid Rules does not include any
cadre called the `Sr. Accounts Officer', to which the appellant wanted
In fact, the cadre of
accounts personnel in CAT consists of five categories of posts, namely, `Deputy
Controller of Accounts, Accounts Officer, Junior Accounts Officer, Senior Accountant
and Junior Accountant'. The appellant was designated as the Accounts Officer at
the relevant time. Therefore, his promotion could only have been to the next
post of Deputy Controller of Accounts. In view of the above, the O.M. dated
22nd September, 1992 clearly would have no application in the case of the
counsel for the appellant, however, submitted before us that the definition of
the term `Organized Accounts Cadre' would include the accounts service in CAT.
The appellant cannot be denied the benefit merely because he is occupying an
isolated post. Learned counsel further pointed out that in a number of cases,
even in the case of isolated posts, the respondents have granted the benefit of
O.M. dated 22nd September, 1992 to the officers working on such posts. Since
the same benefit had been illegally denied to the appellant, the CAT had
correctly applied the principle of `equal pay for equal work' and non- discrimination
amongst similarly situated employees of Union of India.
are wholly unimpressed by both limbs of the submissions. It cannot be disputed
that CAT is an independent entity created under the Administrative Tribunals
Act, 1985. Section 13 sub-section 2 of the aforesaid Act provides that the
salaries and allowances and conditions of the service of the officers and other
employees of a Tribunal shall be such, as may be specified by rules made by the
appropriate governments. Undoubtedly, the Accounts and Personnel Department is
governed by the Recruitment Rules, 1990 framed under the Administrative Tribunals
Act, 1985, which are independent and self- contained.
They could not be
intermingled with the Rules of Central Government Departments. Therefore, the
examples given by the learned counsel for the appellant relating to an isolated
post in the BSF on the basis of the judgment of the Delhi High Court in the case
of Union of India & Ors. Vs. J.R. Chobedar, W.P. (C) No. 20065-67 of 2004
decided on 25 th January, 2005 would be of no assistance to the appellant.
Similarly, the judgment of this Court in the case of State of Mizoram &
Anr. Vs. Mizoram Engineering Service Association & Anr.1 would have no
application as it related to discrimination with regard to pay revision in the
Engineering Department of Mizoram.
It was in the context
of the submission that the Engineering service in the State was not an organized
service, this Court observed that there can be hardly any difference in
organized and unorganized service so far as Government service is concerned. We
may note here the observations made by this Court in Paragraph 6 of the
judgment, which is as under:- "6. Great stress was laid on the fact that Engineering
Service in the State was not an organised service and therefore, it did not
have categorisation by way of entrance-level and senior-level posts and for
that reason the higher scale of Rs 5900-6700 which was admissible for
senior-level posts could not be given in the Engineering Service.
The main reason for
dubbing Engineering Service as an unorganised service in the State is absence
of recruitment rules for the service. Who is responsible for not framing the
recruitment rules? Are the members of the Engineering Service responsible for
it? The answer is clearly "No". For failure of the State Government to
frame recruitment rules and bring Engineering Service within the framework of
organised service, the engineers cannot be made to suffer. Apart from the reason
of absence of recruitment rules for the Engineering Service, we see hardly any difference
in organised and unorganised service so far as government service is concerned.
In government service such a distinction does not appear to have any relevance.
Civil service is not trade unionism.
We fail to appreciate
what is sought to be conveyed by use of the words "organised service"
and "unorganised service". Nothing has been pointed out in this
behalf. The argument is wholly misconceived." 15 These observations
clearly show that the Engineering Service had been dubbed as unorganized
service as the State had failed to frame the necessary recruitment rules. This Court,
therefore, observed that the State Government cannot take advantage of its own
failure to frame the recruitment rules and bring the Engineering Service within
the framework of organized service. For such failure, the Engineers could not
be made to suffer. The aforesaid observations have no application to the facts
and circumstances of this case.
therefore, find no merit in the submissions made by the learned counsel for the
appellant. In view of the above, the appeal is dismissed.
[B. Sudershan Reddy]
[Surinder Singh Nijjar]