16 Sep 2023 3:08 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Wednesday (13.09.203) granted the benefit of revised UGC pay scale as per a 1999 Karnataka Government Order (G.O) to two Physical Education instructors with retrospective effect from 1st January 1996, despite a 2008 G.O that stated that the revised UGC pay scale was to be notionally extended from 27th July 1998. The Apex Court extended such benefit to...
The Supreme Court on Wednesday (13.09.203) granted the benefit of revised UGC pay scale as per a 1999 Karnataka Government Order (G.O) to two Physical Education instructors with retrospective effect from 1st January 1996, despite a 2008 G.O that stated that the revised UGC pay scale was to be notionally extended from 27th July 1998.
The Apex Court extended such benefit to the appellants despite the 2008 G.O limiting pay revision because a similarly situated person had been given the same benefit by the Karnataka High Court in 2009 despite the 2008 G.O, which was later affirmed by the Supreme Court.
A bench of Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal said that the State Government had not applied for review of the 2009 court order and had allowed it to become final. Even on 7th January 2014, the High Court had granted similar relief to another similarly placed person. The Court thus observed, the State cannot now rely on the 2008 G.O to deny benefit to the appellants:
“It was a conscious decision of the State Government to accept the decision of the High Court in the case of Shri N. Ramesh. Now, the State Government cannot rely upon the Government Order dated 4th July 2008, which was not pointed out to the Courts which dealt with the case of Shri N. Ramesh as the State Government accepted the judgment in the case of Shri N. Ramesh and granted benefits to him of the Government Order dated 15th November 1999. There is no reason why the appellants should be denied the same relief, especially when even as of 7th January 2014, the same benefit was granted to the similarly placed employees.” the Court observed.
The appellants in this case were retired Physical Instructors employed in Government Colleges in Karnataka. The appellants were denied the benefit of the revised UGC pay scale as per Government Order (G.O) dated 15.11.1999.
The Karnataka Government through a Government Order dated 15.11.1999 revised the pay scale of Teachers, Librarians and Physical Education Directors in the Government colleges. Under this order the above categories of Government employees were given the benefit of revised pay scale with retrospective effect from 1st January 1996. However, on 23.01.2001, a circular was issued by the State Government stating that physical education and librarians drawing UGC pay scales of 1996 would not be granted the benefit of the 15.11.1999 order.
The Karnataka High Court while denying the benefit of the 1999 G.O to the appellants relied on G. O dated 4th July 2008, which says that the revised UGC pay scale is to be extended from 27th July 1998 notionally and all financial benefits are to be extended prospectively from 4th July 2008, and that no arrears would be paid. The G.O is based on the order of the UGC dated 19th October 2006.
The Appellant contended that the benefit of the 1999 G.O was given to similarly placed employees but denied to them.
The Court observed that in the case of one N. Ramesh who had filed a writ before the Karnataka High Court, in 2008, the single judge had held that he was entitled to the revised UGC pay scale from 1st January 1996 based on the 1999 G.O. The Court observed that the petitioner in the said case was similarly placed as the appellants. The Apex Court noted that the 2006 order of the UGC and the 2008 G.O had not been pointed out to the High Court in the case of N. Ramesh, which was decided in 2009.
The appellants also relied on another High Court order dated 7th January 2014, where two librarians similarly placed as the appellants, were granted the benefit of the revised pay scale from 1st January 1996 along with consequential benefits in terms of the order dated 15th November 1999.
The Court while granting relief to the appellants made it clear that, this benefit would not be extended to new cases filed by retired employees, but would extend to all pending cases claiming similar relief:
“We make it clear that this judgment will apply to all cases, pending before either the Administrative Tribunal or High Court, of similarly situated employees in which a similar relief is claimed. However, this judgment shall not be used to file new cases by retired employees who have been denied the benefit and who have not challenged the action till date. No case, which has been concluded, shall be reopened on the basis of this judgment. “
Case Title: B.C. Nagaraj and Anr. V. The State of Karnataka, Civil Appeal No.s 55295530 of 2023
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 789; 2023INSC828
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