Existence of Parity between two allowances for several years does not mean that the Government should continue such parity in the future also, the Supreme Court has observed.
The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar observed thus while setting aside a High Court judgment that directed the Union of India and the Ministries of Defence, External Affairs and Finance, to award parity between the Bhutan Compensatory Allowance payable to the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) posted in Bhutan, and the Foreign Allowance payable to Indian diplomatic personnel serving in Bhutan under the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
The court said: "It is an undisputed fact that parity had existed between the two allowances for 25 years, but that does not mean that such action of the Government can be taken to mean that the Government should continue such parity in the future also. As mentioned supra, it is open for the State to modulate the allowances depending on the attending circumstances. "
The court further held that there were no valid grounds for the High Court to grant parity between the BCA payable to IMTRAT personnel and the FA payable to MEA personnel. Though the court observed that IMTRAT personnel cannot be termed as deputationists , it held that, this in itself was not a sufficient ground to grant parity between IMTRAT and MEA personnel.
The bench, while setting aside the judgment, however, observed: "However, having regard to the fact that the IMTRAT personnel are working in difficult areas of Bhutan bordering China, and as they have to be vigilant all through in the interest of our nation, they deserve to be provided the BCA without any depression. Hence, having regard to the totality of the facts and circumstances, we direct the Government to remove the depression of 6% and 4% respectively on the BCA payable to IMTRAT personnel, being the Service Officers and PBORs, with immediate effect."