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There Should Be Parity Of Pay In Posts Having Same Nature Of Duties And Same Basic Qualifications : Supreme Court [Read Judgment]

Manu Sebastian
21 Aug 2017 5:35 AM GMT

The Supreme Court has held that there should be parity of pay in posts having same nature of duties and same basic qualifications and job requirements. The Apex Court was dealing with challenge made by State of Punjab against the declaration made by the High Court that Vocational Masters recruited prior to 08.07.1995 were entitled to the same pay scale as Vocational Lecturers.The post...

The Supreme Court has held that there should be parity of pay in posts having same nature of duties and same basic qualifications and job requirements. The Apex Court was dealing with challenge made by State of Punjab against the declaration made by the High Court that Vocational Masters recruited prior to 08.07.1995 were entitled to the same pay scale as Vocational Lecturers.

The post of Vocational Master initially had the basic qualification of a degree. Later, during  1992-93 the basic qualification was amended as having a diploma. Thereupon, two classes of Vocational Masters emerged :- Degree Holder Vocational Masters, and Diploma Holder Vocational Masters. The Degree Holder Vocational Masters were re-designated as Vocational Lecturers, with the rider that their present responsibilities and financial matters will have no change. The Vocational Masters had the option of becoming Vocational Lecturers by acquiring degree. Except for the designation, there was no difference in the nature of duties and pay scale of the posts, until the adoption of 4th Pay Commission Recommendations. In the 4th Pay Commission recommendation, Vocational Masters were placed at a lower pay scale than that of the  Vocational Lecturers. Until then, there used to be no disparity in their pay scales.

The State Government issued notification dated 16.07.2003 stating that only those Vocational Masters who were appointed prior to 08.07.1995 and who acquired the qualification of degree before 08.07.1995 were eligible for the pay scale of Vocational Lecturers. This notification dated 16.07.2003 was challenged by the Vocational Masters, and the High Court quashed the Notification dated 16.07.2003 directing the State Government to give the benefit of pay scale of Vocational Lecturers to all the Vocational Masters recruited prior to 08.07.1995.

The appeal preferred by the State Government was dismissed by the Supreme Court, holding that there should be ‘equal pay for equal work’. The Court noted that all Vocational Masters who got recruited before 08.07.1995 were performing the same nature of duties as Vocational Lecturers. It was also noticed that they formed one unified cadre and class. Further, at the time of initial appointment, both the degree holders and the Diploma holders were appointed by a common process of selection. Hence, the Court held that there cannot be any distinction between the two posts, and both should be placed in the same pay scale. It was observed as follows:

We are conscious of the fact that a differential scale on the basis of educational qualifications and the nature of duties is permissible. However, it is equally clear to us that if two categories of employees are treated as equal initially, they should continue to be so treated unless a different treatment is justified by some cogent reasons. In a case where the nature of duties is drastically altered, a differential scale of pay may be justified. Similarly, if a higher qualification is prescribed for a particular post, a higher scale of pay may be granted. However, if the basic qualifications and the job requirements continued to be identical as they were initially laid down, then the Court shall be reluctant to accept the action of the authority in according a differential treatment unless some good reasons are disclosed.

Read the Judgment Here

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