1 Sep 2022 7:22 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court recently observed that where there is an anomaly between the pay scale drawn by a senior and a junior in service, particularly when both had been promoted to the same post, albeit from different levels, the competent authority would have to engage its mind as to the circumstances up to the same. Justice Devan Ramachandran made the observation while dealing with...
The Kerala High Court recently observed that where there is an anomaly between the pay scale drawn by a senior and a junior in service, particularly when both had been promoted to the same post, albeit from different levels, the competent authority would have to engage its mind as to the circumstances up to the same.
Justice Devan Ramachandran made the observation while dealing with a case in which KSRTC employees who had been promoted to the post of Superintendent from that of Upper Division Clerk (Selection Grade) were drawing less salary when compared to another employee who had been promoted to the same post from the post of Special Assistant/Senior Assistant.
The bench relied upon Rule 28A of Part I of the Kerala Service Rules and Ruling 1 thereunder, and further directed the the Competent Authority of KSRTC to reconsider the matter on this basis.
The petitioners in the instant case, represented by Advocates Kaleeswaram Raj, Varun C. Vijay, and Thulasi K. Raj, impugned the proceedings of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which had rejected the request for stepping up of their Pay Scale on par with that of the immediate junior, who was the respondent in the instant case.
It was contended by the petitioners that although the third respondent was junior to the petitioners herein, the respondent was drawing a higher scale of salary than them since she had been given the increment applicable to the post of Special Assistant/Senior Assistant, which she occupied before she had been promoted to the post of Superintendent. On the other hand, the petitioners had been promoted directly from the post of Upper Division Clerk (Selection Grade) (UDC (SG)) to the post of Superintendents under the provisions of the Pay Revision Agreement, 2012 since there were no other qualified employees in the Grades of Special Assistant/Senior Assistant at that time.
However, vide its impugned Order, KSRTC said that the petitioners would not be entitled to the pay scale, which they otherwise would have been entitled to had they been first promoted as Special Assistants/Senior Assistants.
The petitioners contended that the said order was contrary to law and in blatant violation of Rule 28A of Part I of the Kerala Service Rules.
On the other hand, the respondents, represented by Standing Counsel for KSRTC, Advocate Deepu Thankan, and Advocate K.V. Anil Kumar, contended that there was no such violation, since as per the normal procedure followed by the KSRTC, a UD (SG) would first have to be promoted as a Special Assistant/Senior Assistant in order to further be promoted to the post of Superintendent. In the instant case, it was only because there were no other qualified persons that the petitioners were promoted to the post of Superintendent under Clause XLII of the Pay Revision Agreement, 2012. On the other hand, the third respondent herein had worked as a Special Assistant/Senior Assistant; and therefore, was entitled to have the pay fixed.
To this, it was further contended by the counsels for the petitioners that the latter had been promoted to the post of Superintendent not upon their request. In such a scenario, Rule 28A of Part I KSR should have been made applicable wherein it has been mandated that where "an Officer holding a post is promoted to a higher post, carrying Higher Time Scale of Pay, his initial pay in the Higher Time Scale shall be fixed at the stage next above the pay notionally arrived at in the Lower Time Scale of Pay, by increasing the actual pay drawn by him in the Lower Time Scale, by one increment".
It was further submitted by the counsel for the petitioners that if there was any anomaly with respect to the Scales of Pay drawn by a senior and junior, then it shall be removed by fixing the pay of the former Officer at the stage equal to that fixed for the latter in the higher post, and on this basis, the impugned order was bad in law.
It was in this light that the Court arrived at the finding that since the petitioners were promoted not upon their request, but because no other suitable candidates were available, their pay thus, ought to have been protected qua their junior. The Court accordingly, set aside the impugned the order, and directed the Competent Authority of KSRTC to reconsider the matter after affording the petitioners an opportunity of being heard, in light of Rule 28A of Part I KSR, and in the event of finding the petitioners entitled to higher scale of pay, to disburse the same to them at least on par with the third respondent expeditiously.
Case Title: Sudheer Ram S. & Ors. v. KSRTC & Ors.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 465
Click Here To Read/Download The Order