Read Judgment: Union of India & Ors v. Shri C.R. Madhava Murthy & Anr
New Delhi, April 7, 2022: Resolving the issue of salary anomalies under the Assured Career Progression Scheme, the Apex Court has upheld the decision of the Karnataka High Court directing stepping up of pay of Superintendents of Central Excise and Customs(original writ petitioners) on promotion as they were drawing a less pay than their juniors.
The Division Bench of Justice M.R.Shah and Justice B.V.Nagarathna said, “Therefore, it was a case of removal of anomaly by stepping up pay of seniors on promotion drawing less pay than their juniors.”
The factual background of this case was such that respondents-original writ petitioners were appointed as Lower Division Clerk. Thereafter, they were promoted to the post of Upper Division Clerk. Other two respondents-Shri C.K. Satish and Shri B.S. Srikanth were appointed as Inspectors and when Union of India introduced Assured Career Progression Scheme, these two respondents were granted upgradation under the ACP Scheme.
The original writ petitioners were promoted to the post of Superintendent of Central Excise and Customs but the employees, junior to the original writ petitioners were granted upgradation under the ACP Scheme. However, the persons who were placed lower in the upgradation list than the original writ petitioners, on account of upgradation granted to them under the ACP Scheme, started drawing higher pay. Therefore, the original writ petitioners submitted a representation to the Department and Central Administrative Tribunal for stepping up and to remove the anomaly and to fix their salaries at par with their juniors.
After the Tribunal rejected their claims, the Karnataka High Court allowed their writ petitions and directed the appellants herein to step up the pay of the respondents-writ petitioners, keeping in view the pay scale which had been granted to the juniors from the date they had started drawing lesser pay than their juniors.
This Appeal was filed by the Union of India and the concerned authority on being dissatisfied with the impugned common judgment passed by the Karnataka High Court by which the High Court had allowed the said writ petitions.
Speaking for the Bench, Justice Shah made it clear that it couldn’t be said that the original writ petitioners were as such claiming the stepping up of the pay under the ACP Scheme. Their grievance was with respect to the anomaly in the pay scale and their grievance was that while granting upgradation under the ACP Scheme, their juniors were getting higher salaries than what they receive. Therefore, it was a case of removal of anomaly by stepping up the pay of seniors on promotion drawing less pay than their juniors.
The Court referred to an order issued by the Government of India on removal of anomaly by stepping up of pay which was rightly considered by the High Court. This order aimed at removing the anomaly of a Government servant promoted or appointed to a higher post on or after April 1, 1961, drawing a lower rate of pay in that post than another Government servant junior to him in the lower grade and promoted or appointed subsequently to another identical post. It was mentioned therein that in such cases the pay of the senior officer in the higher post should be stepped up to a figure equal to the pay as fixed for the junior officer in that higher post. This order declared that the stepping up had to be done with effect from the date of promotion or appointment of the junior officer.
Affirming the view adopted by the Karnataka High Court, the Top Court asserted that it was a case where a junior was drawing more pay on account of upgradation under the ACP Scheme and there was an anomaly and therefore, the pay of a senior was required to be stepped up.
Keeping these factors into consideration, Justice Shah remarked that the High Court had rightly directed the appellants herein to step up the pay of the original writ petitioners keeping in view of pay scale which had been granted to the juniors from the date they had started drawing lesser pay than their juniors.
Concurring with the view taken by the High Court, the Apex Court dismissed the present appeals.