10 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

The Union of India (UOI) and Ors. Vs. Rajib Khan and Ors.

MANU/SC/0040/2023

16.01.2023

Service

Different educational qualification and experience prescribed for appointment is a valid basis to grant different pay scales

The Respondents are working as the Nursing Assistants in various hospitals under the establishment of Border Security Force. All of them were being paid the 'Hospital Patient Care Allowance'. According to the original writ Petitioners, they were entitled to the Nursing Allowance like it was being given to the Staff Nurse. Therefore, a writ petition was filed before the High Court.

The claim of the original writ Petitioners claiming Nursing Allowance at par with the Nursing Staff was opposed by the Appellants containing that, they are being paid the special allowance known as 'Hospital Patient Care Allowance' and are not entitled to the Nursing Allowance at par with Staff Nurses as they are not qualified as a Staff Nurse. However, the learned Single Judge negated the objection of the Appellants-BSF by observing that the duties performed by the writ Petitioners are the similar duties performed by the Staff Nurses. Learned Single Judge observed that educational qualification cannot be a ground for denial of Nursing Allowance. Consequently, the learned Single Judge allowed the writ petition. The appeal preferred by the Appellants before the Division Bench of the High Court has been dismissed by the impugned judgment and order. Hence, the present appeal.

A short question which is posed for consideration before this Court is whether in a case where the educational qualifications for the post of Nursing Assistant and Staff Nurse are different, still the Nursing Assistants shall be entitled to the Nursing Allowance at par with the Staff Nurses?

In the case of Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited v. Balbir Kumar Walia and Ors., it is observed and held by this Court that, different educational qualification and experience prescribed for appointment can be a ground to have different pay scales/pay structures.

In the case of Director of Elementary Education, Odisha and Ors. Vs. Pramod Kumar Sahoo, it is observed and held that nature of work may be more or less the same but the scale of pay may vary based on academic qualification or experience which justifies classification. It is further held and observed that inequality of men in different groups excludes applicability of the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' to them. In the case before this Court, this Court upheld the classification based upon the higher educational qualification for grant of higher pay scale to a trained person or a person possessing higher qualification.

In the present case the respective Nursing Assistants are being paid 'Hospital Patient Care Allowance'. The Nursing Assistants in the BSF neither have relevant experience for appointment as Staff Nurse nor they possess any educational qualification for appointment as Staff Nurse. Therefore, the case of Nursing Assistants cannot be compared with that of the Staff Nurses as both carry different educational qualification. Under the circumstances, the High Court has committed a serious error in holding and directing that the Nursing Assistants serving in the Assam Rifles/BSF are entitled to Nursing Allowance at par with the Staff Nurses.

The impugned judgment and order passed by the learned Single Judge as well as the Division Bench of the High Court holding and directing that the original writ Petitioners - Nursing Assistants shall be entitled to Nursing Allowance at par with the Staff Nurse is quashed and set aside. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Pay-scale Direction Legality

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