Read Order: Bhakra Beas Management Board & Another v. Jagdish Ram

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, May 31, 2022: While dealing with an appeal filed by Bhakra Beas Management Board against the decision of the Single-Judge Bench directing the appellants herein to step-up the pay of the writ petitioner equal to that being drawn by his junior from the due date, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the decision of the Single Judge Bench after finding no infirmity in it. 

Reference in this regard was made by Justice G.S. Sandhawalia and Vikas Puri to the Supreme Court in Punjab State Electricity Board & Another v. Ajit Singh Aujla & another, wherein it was held that the mode of recruitment could not be the base of discrimination and both the promotees and the direct recruits who had put in the requisite 16 years of service, could not be differentiated. 

The present appeal was directed against the order of the Single Judge passed in a civil writ petition filed by the respondent-writ petitioner in 2018. Essentially, the Single Judge allowed the writ petition directing the appellants herein to step-up the pay of the writ petitioner equal to that being drawn by his junior, Bhupinder Singh from the due date. 

The Single Judge found that the said junior was granted the benefit of Time-Bound Promotional Scale (TBPS) on completion of 9 years of service w.e.f. April of 1998 and also on completion of 16 years. While, the Bench noted that the writ petitioner was given the second promotional scale in October 01, 2003 on completing 16 years of service and not on completing 9 years and thus, paving way for the pay anomaly. 

The Counsel for the Bhakra Beas Management Board tried to draw the Court’s attention to the Finance Circular of April 1990 which was notified by the Punjab State Electricity Board and was adopted by the appellant-Board in June of 1990. It was submitted that since the appointments were of 1989 therefore, the said adoption was prospective and not retrospective. 

The Court was of the considered opinion that the said argument was not liable to be accepted since the circular of April 990 adopted by the Board showed that it was to take effect from January 1, 1986. 

Even otherwise, the Court added, the benefit of the circular was given to the junior as noticed by the Single Judge who was appointed in April 1989 as Khansama-cum-Chowkidar in the pay-scale of Rs. 830- 1560 and by then the petitioner was already promoted on the said post on April 1, 1989 and thus, the petitioner was senior to him. But in spite of that fact, he was not granted the benefit of 9 years promotional scale. 

Thus, the Court held that once similarly situated person was given the benefit of the same circular (adopted in June 1990), which was obviously on the premise that it came in operation from January 01, 1986, therefore, the Board could not now urge that it was only prospective in nature qua one employee and not qua the junior who was granted benefit.

It was also noticed by the Court that the Single Judge took into consideration the fact that the writ petitioner was appointed as Chowkidar-cum-Cook in September 1987 in the pay-scale of Rs. 300-430 which was revised to Rs. 750-1350. 

“He was promoted as Khansama-cum-Chowkidar in the same pay-scale of the junior which was revised to Rs. 830-1600 from Rs.830-1560 and therefore, not having earned promotion for 9 years thereafter, would be entitled for the benefit of the TBPS”, the Bench held. 

In such circumstances, the Court did not find any error in the order passed by the Single Judge granting the said benefit.

Accordingly, in view of the above discussion, the present appeal was dismissed.

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