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If Judicial Officers Are Governed By Judicial Pay Commission Question Of Invoking Any Other Rules Governing Other Govt Services Would Not Arise: Supreme Court

Shruti Kakkar
11 Feb 2022 8:50 AM GMT
If Judicial Officers Are Governed By Judicial Pay Commission Question Of Invoking Any Other Rules Governing Other Govt Services Would Not Arise: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court on Friday observed that if the Judicial Officers are governed by Judicial Pay Commission the question of invoking any other rules or provisions governing the other services of state government would not arise.The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar was considering SLP preferred by State of Tamil Nadu assailing Madras High Court's order dated September 5,...

The Supreme Court on Friday observed that if the Judicial Officers are governed by Judicial Pay Commission the question of invoking any other rules or provisions governing the other services of state government would not arise.

The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar was considering SLP preferred by State of Tamil Nadu assailing Madras High Court's order dated September 5, 2019 whereby the High Court had allowed the writ petition filed by private respondents & held that writ petitioners were entitled for regular promotional benefit under ACP scheme.

The Top Court while setting aside the impugned judgment in its order said,

"Leave granted. The SLP is against the order dated 5th September 2019 passed by Madras High Court whereby the High Court allowed the writ petition filed by private respondents & held that writ petitioners were entitled for regular promotional benefit under ACP scheme. Question posed in the appeal however is whether service conditions for judicial officers must be answered on the basis of dispensation specified in the Judicial Pay Commission which came into effect in 1996. The High Court has not dealt with this contention at all. If the Judicial Officers are governed by Judicial Pay Commission the question of invoking any other rules or provisions governing the other services of state government would not arise. We accordingly set aside the impugned judgment and order and relegate the parties to the High Court."

Noting that the High Court had not dealt with the contention as to whether service conditions for judicial officers must be answered on the basis of dispensation specified in the Judicial Pay Commission which came into effect in 1976, the bench relegated the matter back to the High Court.

While setting aside the impugned judgment and relegating the matter back to the High Court since the High Court had not dealt with the contention as to whether service conditions for judicial officers must be answered on the basis of dispensation specified in the Judicial Pay Commission which came into effect in 1996.

Appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate VV Giri submitted that the impugned order not only affected the officer concerned but all the officers during that period.

"I would request to have it on some date. It affects though the officer concerned is one person but it affects all the officers during that period. It relates to the 1st Judicial Pay Commission. The petitioner retired from service in 2004," submitted Senior Counsel.

"Your stand is that they will be governed by Judicial Pay Commission & the relief has been outside that? How has the High Court dealt with the aspect? Please say?" remarked Justice AM Khanwilkar at this juncture.

On Senior Advocate submitting that the High Court had not dealt with the contention on the applicability of service conditions for judicial officers being answered on the basis of dispensation specified in the Judicial Pay Commission the bench while expressing its inclination to relegate the matter back to the High Court said,

"We can send it back to the High Court to examine the specific point unless the other party has an objection. It'll govern the entire judiciary. What is the point of having a judicial pay commission?"

Case Before Madras High Court

The writ petitioner T. Sankara Narayana Pillai who was appointed as Sub-Magistrate (Judicial) on February 21, 1972 had approached the High Court seeking issuance of writ for accepting the fixation of pay of the petitioner, by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Villupuram.

Petitioner had further sought for fixing further pay on promotion under Fundamental Rules 22(1)(a)(i) r/w FR-22-B with an option to have the fixation in the promoted post on July 1, 1998 (the date of accrual of next increment), with all other consequential attendant benefits like interest for delay, etc., within the time stipulated by the High Court.

The bench of Justices R.Subbiah and C.Saravanan while allowing the writ petition noted that the petitioner was entitled for the regular promotional benefits as available to the Government servants under the Tamil Nadu Government Fundamental Rules (FR).

"34. On a reading of the above extracted FR.22.B read with Ruling 8 therein, it is crystal clear that the petitioner, on his promotion as Civil Judge (Senior Division) on 04.3.1998, is entitled to have his pay re-fixed with monetary benefits which was not given to the petitioner. Ruling 8 in FR.22.B provides that even where the existing pay scale and pay scale of promoted post, are identical, the pay fixation shall be given to the next higher level.

35. Therefore, we are of the opinion that the stand of the third respondent denying the regular promotion benefits, citing the benefit given under ACP scheme, is not correct. The petitioner is entitled for the regular promotional benefits as available to the Government servants under the Tamil Nadu Government Fundamental Rules (FR). The benefits under ACP scheme has nothing to do with the regular promotional benefits, and therefore, the petitioner is entitled for the benefits conferred under FR-22-B and Ruling 8 therein," High Court had observed.

Case Title: The Government Of Tamil Nadu And Anr. Versus T. Sankara Narayana Pillai And Anr.| Diary No. 7564-2021

Click Here To Read/Download High Court's Order


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