24 June 2024


Supreme Court

Union of India (UOI) and Ors. Vs. D.G.O.F. Employees Association and Ors.




Fixation of pay scale is in realm of employer and Court should exercise restraint unless entitlement is denied due to irrational consideration

The Respondent is an Association of Employees in the Head Quarters of Ordnance Factory Board. They sought for upgradation of the pay scales of Assistant and Personal Assistants of Ordnance Factory Board, Headquarters as had been given to similarly placed employees of Central Secretariat Service ('CSS') and equivalent posts in Armed Force Headquarters Civil Service ('AFHCS') and similar other cadres. The Ministry of Defence did not approve the same. The Respondents therefore being aggrieved were before the CAT. The CAT also declined the prayer which resulted in the writ proceedings before the High Court.

The High Court having analysed the matter was however of the view that the members of the Respondent were historically treated as equals to CSS/CSSS employees and had earlier enjoyed equal pay and all benefits. The High Court while setting aside the order of CAT has held that the Respondents would be entitled to the benefit in terms of paragraph 3.1.9 of the recommendations contained in the VIth Central Pay Commission.

Though the Courts would not undertake the exercise of determining the pay scale keeping in view the nature of the work by comparing employees who are not similarly placed in cases where the exercise of determining such complex issues would arise, at the same time, relief cannot be denied to the employees when the entitlement is denied due to irrational consideration without application of mind to the facts involved in the case by the employer, thereby denying the benefits to the employees.

The conclusion as reached with regard to the parity in pay scale in the case of the employees who are members of the first Respondent is basically due to the fact that they are employees in the headquarters of the Ordnance Factory and therefore they are similarly placed as that of the Assistants in CSS/CSSS Army Headquarters as well as such other similarly placed organisations referred to in the recommendations. The conclusion as reached by the High Court is unexceptionable.

In the present facts, the perusal of the judgment passed by the High Court impugned would indicate that the High Court having kept in view the legal, as well as the factual aspects, has not proceeded in a manner so as to equate two sets of employees in different organizations. But, keeping in view the recommendation of the Pay Commission and the applicability of the pay scales recommended to similarly placed employees employed in the headquarters and on noticing discrimination despite historical similarity has merely rectified the error, which does not call for interference. Appeal dismissed.

Tags : Pay scaleupgradation Legality

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