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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Allowance in lieu of kilometerage (ALK). = whether the respondent, a medically decategorised Driver of the Indian Railways, working as a Crew Controller with stationary duties, is entitled to allowance in lieu of kilometerage (ALK). = only a specific category of employees in the Railways like Drivers, Motormen, Firemen, Guards, Assistant Guards etc. who constitute the running staff and such staff who are directly connected with the movement of trains perform running duties. Running Allowance under the Rules is required to be paid only to the running staff who are engaged in the performance of duties directly connected with the movement of trains and such allowance includes kilometerage allowance or allowance in lieu of kilometerage (ALK). While kilometerage allowance is to be paid for performance of actual running duties, the allowance in lieu of kilometerage (ALK) is to be paid to such members of the running staff who are temporarily required to perform stationary duties. The rules also make it clear that 30% of the basic pay of the running staff is required to be treated as representing the pay element in the Running Allowance. Those members of the running staff who are employed on non-running duties are paid the aforesaid 30% of the basic pay if such non-running duties are performed at the headquarters whereas in case such non-running duties are performed by the running staff at outstations they are required to be paid ALK at the rates prescribed by Rule 907(b). It is thus clear that no Running Allowance i.e. either kilometerage allowance or allowance in lieu of kilometerage is contemplated for any staff, including erstwhile members of the running staff, permanently engaged in performance of stationary duties. Running Allowance of either description is required to be paid only to members of the running staff who are directly engaged in actual movement of trains or such staff who are temporarily assigned stationary duties but who are likely to go back and perform running duties. The respondent does not fall in either of the above two categories.- We, therefore, hold that the High Court was not justified in issuing the impugned directions for grant of ALK to the respondent. The order of the High Court dated 20.06.2011 is therefore set aside and the appeal is allowed.

                   published in     http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40728       
  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                       CIVIL APPEAL  NO. 7298 OF 2013
                  (Arising Out of SLP (C) No.3446 of 2012)

Union of India   & Ors.                      ...   Appellant(s)
                                   Versus
B. Banerjee                             ...  Respondent(s)



                               J U D G M E N T

RANJAN GOGOI, J.

1.    The precise question that arises  for  determination  in  the  present
appeal is
whether the respondent, a medically decategorised  Driver  of  the
Indian Railways, working as a Crew Controller  with  stationary  duties,  is entitled  to  allowance  in  lieu  of  kilometerage  (ALK).    
The   Central
Administrative Tribunal by its order dated 10.02.2011 answered the  question
against the respondent which  led  to  a  round  of  litigation  before  the
Calcutta High Court.  
The High Court held that the respondent  was  entitled
to the allowance in question.  
Aggrieved, the Union has filed this appeal.

2.    The basic facts that would require notice are  not  in  dispute.   The
respondent while serving as a  Diesel  Driver  (Goods)  Grade-II  was  found
unfit to work as a Driver in a special medical examination that was held  on
5.1.2005.  He was, however, allowed to work as a Crew Controller.  The  said
post, though involved performance of stationary duties was included  in  the
cadre  of  Driver  in  terms  of  Railway  Board  Circular   No.9/98   dated
09.01.1998.   Regular  Drivers,  in  addition  to  medically   decategorised
Drivers like the Respondent, were also drafted  to  perform  the  duties  of
Crew Controller.  Both categories of  employees  i.e.  regular  Drivers  and
medically decategorised Drivers in the post of Crew  Controller  were  being
paid ALK.  A subsequent Circular No.12/2004 dated 14.01.2004 was  issued  to
make it clear  that  medically  decategorised  Drivers  allowed  to  perform
duties of Crew Controller were  ineligible  to  the  grant  of  any  benefit
specifically admissible to the  running  staff  on  the  premise  that  such
decategorised Drivers ceased to  be  running  staff.   Accordingly,  it  was
clarified that the benefit of allowance in lieu  of  kilometerage  (ALK)  is
not  admissible  to  medically  decategorised  Drivers   working   as   Crew
Controllers.  Following  the  aforesaid  clarificatory  Circular  No.12/2004
dated 14.01.2004, the respondent who was  drawing  ALK  was  denied  further
benefit of the same which led to the institution of  the  proceeding  before
the Tribunal.  The Tribunal, as it appears from its order dated  10.02.2011,
took the view that following his  medical  decategorisation  the  respondent
ceased to be a running staff  and  as  he  had  been  performing  stationary
duties he is not entitled to any  Running  Allowance.  The  High  Court,  on
being approached by the respondent, however, took the view that  even  after
his medical decategorisation the  respondent  continued  to  remain  in  the
cadre of Driver (the said cadre  included  the  post  of  Crew  Controller).
Hence, he was entitled to ALK.  Accordingly, the  impugned  directions  have
been issued which have led to the institution of the present appeal  by  the
Union.

3.    We have heard the learned counsels for the parties.

4.    To appreciate the issues arising in the present  appeal,  it  will  be
necessary to notice the relevant provisions of the Running  Allowance  Rules
(1981) as embodied in the Indian Railway  Establishment  Manual  –  Volume-I
(Revised Edition 1989).

5.    Rule 902 (2)(iii) defines “running duties” to  mean  “duties  directly
connected with the movement of trains and performed by running  staff  while
employed on moving trains or engines including shunting engines”.

      Sub-rule (iv) of Rule 902 is in the following terms:
           “(iv)  “Running staff” performing “running duties”  shall  refer
           to Railway servants of the categories mentioned below:




      |Loco                         |Traffic             |
|(a)Drivers, including        |(a) Guards          |
|Motormen & Rail Motor Drivers|                    |
|but excluding Shunters.      |                    |
|(b) Shunters                 |(b) Assistant       |
|                             |Guards              |
|(c) Firemen, including       |                    |
|Instructing Firemen, Electric|                    |
|Assistant on Electric Locos  |                    |
|and Diesel Assistant/Drivers.|                    |
|Assistants on Diesel Locos.  |                    |



      “Running Allowance”  as  defined  in  sub-rule  (v)  of  Rule  902  is
extracted below:

           “(v) “Running Allowance” means an allowance  ordinarily  granted
           to running staff in terms of and at the rates specified in these
           rules, and/or modified by the Central Government in the Ministry
           of Railways (Railway  Board),  for  the  performance  of  duties
           directly connected with charge of moving trains and  includes  a
           “Kilometrage Allowance” and “Allowance in lieu  of  kilometrage”
           but excludes special compensatory allowances.”



6.    Rule 903 which is quoted below makes it clear that 30%  of  the  basic
pay of the running staff is required to be treated as representing  the  pay
element in the Running Allowance:

           “903. Pay element in Running Allowance:-30% of the basic pay  of
           the running staff will be treated to be in  the  nature  of  pay
           representing the pay element in the Running Allowance.  This pay
           element would fall under clause (iii) of  Rule  1303-FR-9  21(a)
           i.e. “emoluments which are  specially  classed  as  pay  by  the
           President”.


7.    Rule 905 deals with the types  of  allowances  admissible  to  running
staff and is in the following terms:

           “905. Types of Allowances admissible to  Running  Staff:-Running
           staff shall be entitled to the following allowances  subject  to
           the conditions specified by or under these rules:

              i)  Kilometrage  Allowance  for  the  performance  of  running
                 duties, in terms of and at the  rates  specified  in  these
                 rules.

             ii)  An  allowance  in  lieu  of  kilometrage  (ALK)  for   the
                 performance  of  stationary  duties  such  as  journeys  on
                 transfer, joining time,  for  attending  enquiries  or  law
                 courts  on   Railway   business,   attending   departmental
                 inquiries as Defense Counsel or witness, Ambulance classes,
                 volunteer duty in  connection  with  Territorial  or  other
                 similar Fund and Staff Loans Fund  Committees,  meeting  of
                 Railway Institutes,  Welfare  and  Debt  Committees,  Staff
                 Benefit Fund and Staff  Loan  Fund  Committees,  Staff  and
                 Welfare Committees, for attending the meetings  of  Railway
                 Co-operative Societies in cases where special casual  leave
                 is  granted  for  doing  so,   medical   and   departmental
                 examinations, participating in recognized athletic contests
                 and tournaments, scouting activities and Lok  Sahayak  Sena
                 Camp,   representing   recognized   labor    organizations,
                 attending periodical meetings with District offices,  Heads
                 of Departments and General  Managers,  attending  First-aid
                 classes, undergoing  training  in  carriage  sheds  and  as
                 worker  teacher  under  the   Workers’   Education   Scheme
                 attending training  schools  for  refresher  and  promotion
                 courses, undergoing sterilization  operation  under  Family
                 Planning  Scheme  appearing  in  Hindi  Examination  Guards
                 booked on escort duty of treasure and other insured parcels
                 on trains, Drivers and Firemen when kept spare for a day or
                 two to  enable  them  to  examine  and  clean  the  engines
                 thoroughly before being deputed to work special trains  for
                 VIPs,  or  any  other  duties  which  may  be  declared  in
                 emergencies as qualifying  for  an  allowance  in  lieu  of
                 kilometrage.

            iii) Special Compensatory Allowances

           The running staff are eligible for  the  following  compensatory
           allowances under the circumstances and at the rates specified in
           these rules:

              a) Allowance in lieu of Running Room facilities.

              b) Breach of rest allowance.

              c) Outstation (Detention) Allowance.

              d) Outstation (Relieving) Allowance.

              e) Accident Allowance.

           (iv) An official Allowance when  undertaking  duties  in  higher
           grades  of  posts  open  to  running  staff  or  in   stationary
           appointments.”


8.    Rule 907 which deals with allowance in lieu of kilometerage  (ALK)  is
in the following terms :

      “907. Allowance in lieu of Kilometrage (ALK)

      When running staff are engaged in or employed on non-running duties as
      specified in Rule 3 (ii) above, they shall be entitled to the  payment
      of an allowance in lieu of Kilometrage as indicated  below  for  every
      calendar day for such non-running duties as  may  be  required  to  be
      performed by them:

      (a)   When such non-running duties are performed by the running  staff
      at their headquarters, they shall be  paid  the  pay  element  of  the
      Running Allowance, namely, 30% of the basic  pay  applicable  for  the
      day.

      (b)   When such non-running duties are performed by the running  staff
      at outstations, they shall be paid ALK at the following rates:



      |S.  |Category of Running     |New scales of|Revised rates|
|No. |Staff                   |pay          |of ALK (160  |
|    |                        |             |km.) per day |
|    |                        |             |w.e.f.       |
|    |                        |             |1-11-1986*   |
|1.  |Mail Driver             |1640-2900    |45.20        |
|2.  |Passenger Driver        |1600-2660    |45.10        |
|3.  |Goods Guard             |1350-2200    |45.05        |
|4.  |First Fireman/          |950-1500     |30.90        |
|    |Diesel Asstt/Electric   |             |             |
|    |Asstt.                  |             |             |
|5.  |Second Fireman          |825-1200     |26.25        |
|6.  |Shunter                 |1200-2040    |33.05        |
|7.  |Mail Guard              |1400-2600    |36.95        |
|8.  |Passenger Guard         |1350-2200    |36.90        |
|9.  |Goods Guard             |1200-2040    |36.80        |
|10. |Assistant Guard/        |950-1400     |22.00        |
|    |Brakesmen               |             |             |



9.    From the provisions of the Running Allowance Rules,  extracted  above,
it is abundantly clear that
only a specific category  of  employees  in  the
Railways like Drivers, Motormen, Firemen, Guards, Assistant Guards etc.  who
constitute the running staff and such staff who are directly connected  with
the movement of trains perform running duties.  
Running Allowance under  the
Rules is required to be paid only to the running staff who  are  engaged  in
the performance of duties directly connected with  the  movement  of  trains
and such allowance includes kilometerage allowance or allowance in  lieu  of
kilometerage (ALK).    
While  kilometerage  allowance  is  to  be  paid  for
performance of actual running duties, the allowance in lieu of  kilometerage
(ALK) is  to  be  paid  to  such  members  of  the  running  staff  who  are
temporarily required to perform stationary duties.  
The rules also  make  it
clear that 30% of the basic pay of the  running  staff  is  required  to  be
treated as representing the pay element in  the  Running  Allowance.   
Those
members of the running staff who are  employed  on  non-running  duties  are
paid the aforesaid 30% of the basic  pay  if  such  non-running  duties  are
performed at the headquarters whereas in case such  non-running  duties  are
performed by the running staff at outstations they are required to  be  paid
ALK at the rates prescribed by Rule 907(b).    
It  is  thus  clear  that  
no
Running Allowance i.e. either kilometerage allowance or  allowance  in  lieu
of kilometerage is contemplated for any staff, including  erstwhile  members
of the running staff,  permanently  engaged  in  performance  of  stationary
duties.  
Running Allowance of either description  is  required  to  be  paid
only to members of the running staff who  are  directly  engaged  in  actual
movement of trains or such staff who  are  temporarily  assigned  stationary
duties but who are likely to  go  back  and  perform  running  duties.   
The
respondent does not fall in either of the above two categories.

10.   The retention of decategorised Drivers working as Crew Controllers  in
the original cadre of Drivers by the Railway Board’s Circular No.9/98  dated
09.01.1998 and their entitlement  to  Running  Allowance  (ALK)  has  to  be
understood in the above context.  The aforesaid inclusion, which  is  wholly
fictional, cannot confer any benefit contrary to the  express  provision  of
the Running Allowance Rules inasmuch as a decategorised Driver working as  a
Crew Controller is  not  a  member  of  the  running  staff  or  engaged  in
performance of running duties  as  defined  by  the  provisions  of  Running
Allowance Rules.  The above position has been made abundantly clear  by  the
Railway Board Circular No.12/2004 dated 14.01.2004, details  of  which  have
already been noticed.

11.   There is yet another aspect  of  the  matter  which  would  require  a
mention.  Under Rule 903 of the Running Allowance Rules, as  noticed  above,
30% of the basic pay of the running staff represents the pay element in  the
Running Allowance.  Therefore, in case of  medically  decategorised  Driver,
like the respondent, the said component being a part of  the  pay  drawn  by
him as a running staff has to be protected.  The same  apparently  has  been
done as is evident from the rejoinder affidavit of  the  Union.   The  above
act of the  appellants  also  ensures  compliance  with  the  provisions  of
Section  47  of  the  Persons  with   Disabilities   (Equal   Opportunities,
Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995  which  entitles  the
respondent to receive the pay and service benefits  earlier  drawn  by  him.
The Running Allowance to which the respondent was entitled while  he  was  a
member of the running staff has been protected as a part of his pay  in  the
post of Crew Controller.  In such circumstances, any further  grant  of  ALK
will not be justified.

12.   We, therefore, hold that the High Court was not justified  in  issuing
the impugned directions for grant of ALK to the respondent.   The  order  of
the High Court dated 20.06.2011 is therefore set aside  and  the  appeal  is
allowed.


                                                    ..………………………..………………………J.
                                        [SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA]





                                                    ..………………………..………………………J.
                                        [RANJAN GOGOI]

NEW DELHI
SEPTEMBER  06, 2013

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