Past Service As Fast Track Court Judges Shall Be Considered To Calculate The Service Benefits Of District Judges:SC [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, disposing off appeals arising out of a 2015 judgment of the Jharkhand High Court, held that the pensions and other service benefits of District Judges shall be calculated taking into view their past service as Fast Track Court judges.
The writ petitions before the High Court had been filed by some District Judges of the State of Jharkhand for treating their cases as absorption/regularization and for extending all the benefits of past service rendered by them and for their services to be treated as continuous service. They had also prayed for a direction for the payment of dues; current salary and other bills.
In the year 2009, some members of subordinate judiciary of the State of Jharkhand challenged the appointment of these petitioners before the High court and by order dt.07.03.2011 the appointment of the petitioners including others who were appointed as a FTC Judges’ was declared invalid and quashed w.e.f the date on which their tenure of appointment ended i.e 31.03.2011.
The petitioners, thereafter, preferred appeal before the Supreme Court and by a judgment dt.19.09.2012 in Mahesh Chandra Verma Vs. State of Jharkhand reported in (2012) 11 SCC 656, the Apex Court concurred with the view of the High court, directing the appointment of the petitioners herein in the manner laid down in Brij Mohan Lal Vs. Union of India (in short B.M Lal-II) reported in (2012) 6 SCC 502.
In compliance of the order passed by the Supreme Court, the Jharkhand High Court invited an application from the petitioners and conducted written examination and interview in the manner laid down in the Braj Mohan Lal-II case. Thereafter, a recommendation was made for the appointment of 22 persons including these petitioners and finally the State Government appointed them afresh as District Judge vide various notifications.
After the appointment of the petitioners they were refused to withdraw salary under their earlier G.P.F Number by stating that their earlier services will not be considered. The petitioners were also denied other benefits like leave encashment and T.A.
Thereafter, the petitioners filed representations before the High Court on the administrative side which, after the resolution of the Standing Committee, sent a proposal to the Government for providing the petitioners pay protection, treating the intervening period from 01.04.2011 till their appointment in the regular cadre as notionally continuous service for the purpose of pensionary benefit and other benefits of continuous of service for previous services. But the State-respondent rejected the representations of the petitioners.
The Issue considered by the High Court was whether the past services of the petitioners who have been appointed in terms of the judgment of Brij Mohan Lal-II and Mahesh Chandra Verma shall be taken into consideration for their pensionery and other benefits?
The division bench had held, “From bare reading of Rule 78 (of the Jharkhand Service Code), it appears that if a person, who was holding a post either permanent or temporary, has been re-appointed to a post, other than resignation, removal or dismissal, substantively to such post then he shall not get less than the pay he was drawing on such last occasion and he shall count the period during which he drew that pay on such last and any previous occasions for increment in the stage of the time- scale equivalent to that pay. However, in the present case, the petitioners at the time of their discontinuation from service were getting pay equivalent to the regular District Judges’ but since they were discontinued from the service and thereafter, re-appointed in terms of the judgment passed in Mahesh Chandra Verma and B.M Lal-II, Rule 78 shall not be applicable to them and they shall get initial pay of District Judge. As a sequel to the aforesaid discussion, we are of the considered view that the petitioners are not entitled to any benefit of past service rendered by them as Fast Track Judges’. The net result is that all the writ petitions, on hand, are dismissed...”
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