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Pay Hike For High Court Staff: Supreme Court Further Defers Contempt Proceedings By Tripura HC Against State

Sohini Chowdhury
13 Aug 2022 4:30 AM GMT
Pay Hike For High Court Staff: Supreme Court Further Defers Contempt Proceedings By Tripura HC Against State
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In a plea filed by the State of Tripura, which assails an interim order passed by the Tripura High Court directing the State Government to enhance the salary of the staff of the High Court as per the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, at the request of State's Counsel, Senior Advocate, Mr. Ranjit Singh, the Supreme Court, on Friday, adjourned the hearing. On...

In a plea filed by the State of Tripura, which assails an interim order passed by the Tripura High Court directing the State Government to enhance the salary of the staff of the High Court as per the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, at the request of State's Counsel, Senior Advocate, Mr. Ranjit Singh, the Supreme Court, on Friday, adjourned the hearing.

On the previous occasion, while issuing notice, a Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna had granted interim relief to the Chief Secretary of the State, who had been summoned to appear before the Tripura High Court in a suo moto contempt petition. The High Court was requested to defer the hearing of the contempt petition. The Bench, on Friday, extended the interim relief further; till the time it takes up the present proceedings.

"Interim order to be continued. Counter to be filed within two weeks."

The Tripura High Court had passed an order in December 2021, directing the State to pay the salary arrears as well in three monthly installments starting from January 2022. Later, the High Court initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against the State Government for not implementing the directions.

A Single Judge of the High Court had noted that the benefit of the Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations are given to the staff of the subordinate judiciary. Therefore, invoking the doctrine of equal pay for equal work, it directed the State to extend the same benefit to the staff of the High Court as well. Challenging the same, the State Government had filed a writ appeal. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice SG Chattopadhyay on December 21, 2021, passed an interim order directing the State to implement the Single Judge's directions with effect from January 1, 2006, subject to condition that the employees should refund the payments received as per the directions in case of their reversal.

On the last date of hearing, Mr Kumar appearing for the State Government had argued before the Supreme Court that the High Court's directions are contrary to the service rules governing the High Court staff. He referred to Rule 16 of the High Court of Tripura Services (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Conduct) Rules, 2014, which states that the pay scale of the High Court staff will be equivalent to that of the State Government employees. The State Government employees are not yet given the benefits of the Sixth Pay Commission. Therefore, the High Court staff cannot claim the same.

Mr. Kumar had also indicated that the High Court's directions will create a huge burden on the state exchequer.

[Case Title: State of Tripura And Ors. v. High Court Employees Association And Ors. SLP(C) No. 8768/2022]


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