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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 50 OF 2015 (arising out of SLP(C) No.1707 of 2014) Union of India Through Secretary & Ors. ... APPELLANT VERSUS Anju Jain & Anr. ... RESPONDENTS

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                         CIVIL APPEAL NO. 50 OF 2015
                   (arising out of SLP(C) No.1707 of 2014)

Union of India Through Secretary & Ors.      ... APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS
Anju Jain & Anr.                        ... RESPONDENTS

                               J U D G M E N T

SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, J.

      Leave granted.

2.    The appellants have preferred this  appeal  against  order  dated  1st
August, 2013 passed by the High Court of Delhi at  New  Delhi  in  W.P.  (C)
No.2736 of 2013.  By the impugned order, the High Court affirmed  the  order
dated 17th March,  2012  passed  by  the  Central  Administrative  Tribunal,
Principal Bench (hereinafter referred to as, 'the CAT')  and  dismissed  the
writ petition preferred by the appellants herein.

3.    The factual matrix of the case is as under:

      The case of the Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 is that  they  were  initially
appointed  as  Junior  Machine  Operators(JMO)/Key  Punch  Operators  w.e.f.
05.05.1987 and 19.05.1987 respectively on temporary basis in the  pay  scale
of Rs.950-20-1150-EB-25-1500.  Later on,  their  services  were  regularized
w.e.f. 19.05.1989. Subsequently, on  the  recommendations  of  the  Economic
Reform Commission and  the  Staff  Inspection  Unit,  the  posts  of  Junior
Machine Operator, Senior Machine Operator and Comptometer  Operator  in  the
office of appellant no.2 were abolished w.e.f. 27.07.1995.  However, on  the
request of the respondents, their services were adjusted against the  vacant
posts of  Computor(feeder)  which  was  a  promotional  post  but  with  the
condition that the respondents  will  draw  only  the  salary  and  pay  and
allowances as admissible to the posts of Junior Machine Operator which  they
were holding prior to  27.07.1995.   Later  on,  respondents  were  adjusted
against the vacant post of Computor  by  way  of  ad  hoc  promotion  w.e.f.
04.11.1997 in the pay scale of Rs.4000-100-6000. On 18.05.1999, at the  time
of granting First Financial Upgradation under ACP Scheme,  the  pay  of  the
respondents was re-fixed in the same scale of  Rs.4000-100-6000,  which  was
the scale they were already granted.

In  the  meantime,  consequent  upon  the  introduction  of  the  Scheme  of
rationalization of pay scales for  Electronic  Data  Processing  cadre,  the
cadre was restructured and at the entry  level  Data  Entry  Operator  (DEO)
Grade A and above that the post of Data Entry Operator (DEO) Grade  B,  etc.
were created. Accordingly, the post of Junior Machine Operator in  the  pre-
revised scale of Rs.950-1500 was re-designated as DEO,  Grade  `A'  and  was
granted the scale of pay of Rs.1150-1500 w.e.f. 01.01.1986.  Similarly,  the
post of Computor in the pre-revised scale of Rs.1200-2040 was  re-designated
as DEO, Grade 'B' in  the  scale  of  pay  of  Rs.1350-2200  effective  from
01.01.1986.

It appears that inspite of re-designation of  the  post  of  Junior  Machine
Operator as Data Entry Operator Grade 'A' the respondent  nos.1 and  2  were
not granted scale of pay of Rs.1150-1500 with  effect  from  their  date  of
initial appointment.

4.    Being aggrieved respondent nos.1 and 2 preferred O.A. No.3690 of  2011
before the CAT for re-fixation of their pay in  the  scale  of  Rs.1150-1500
w.e.f. 05.05.1987 and  19.05.1987  respectively  i.e.  from  the  date  they
joined as Junior Machine Operators.

5.    The CAT vide order dated 17th March, 2012 allowed the application  and
set aside the order passed by the  authorities  with  following  observation
and direction:

"5.   We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and  considered  the
averments made by them. We have also perused the  various  judgments  relied
upon by the learned counsel for the applicants. In our considered view,  the
submission of the respondents does not have any merit. Admittedly, both  the
applicants were initially appointed to  the  post  of  JMO  which  has  been
identified as an EDP post and reclassified as  Data  Entry  Operator,  Grade
'A'. On having been declared surplus, they were adjusted  against  the  post
of Computor which is another identified EDP post which was  reclassified  as
Data  Entry  Operator,  Grade  'B'.  Therefore,  the   submission   of   the
respondents that there was difference between  the  posts  occupied  by  the
applicants and other Data Entry Operators is merely a technical one with  no
consequence and, therefore, it is rejected.  Consequently, we hold that  the
applicants shall be treated as Data Entry Operators Grade 'A' in  the  scale
of pay of Rs.1150-1500 (pre-revised) with all  consequential  benefits  such
as re-fixation of their pay, upto date arrears of pay  and  allowances  from
the respective dates of their appointments i.e. 05.05.1987  and  19.05.1987.
They shall also issue necessary orders in this regard, within  a  period  of
two months from the date of receipt of copy of this order.  There  shall  be
no order as to costs."

6.    Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the appellants filed W.P.C)  No.4003
of 2012 before this Court.  However, the same  was  dismissed  as  withdrawn
with liberty to file a review petition before  the  CAT  seeking  review  of
order dated 17th March, 2012.  The Review Application being R.A.  No.260  of
2012 was dismissed by the CAT on 15th February, 2013.

7.    In view of the aforesaid fact, another Writ Petition No.2736  of  2013
was preferred by the appellants before the High Court  of  Delhi  which  was
rejected by the High Court by impugned order dated 1st August, 2013  with  a
direction to the appellants that those who were working  as  Junior  Machine
Operators have to be treated as Data Entry Operators Grade 'A' in the  scale
of Rs.1150-1500 and shall be given subsequent replacement of  scale  of  pay
Rs.4000-6000 with benefit from the  date  of  their  appointment  as  Junior
Machine Operators.

8.    Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the appellants  have  preferred  the
present appeal before this Court.

9.     The  learned  counsel  for  the  respondents   contented   that   the
respondents were initially appointed as  Junior  Machine  Operators  and  on
being declared surplus they were adjusted  against  the  posts  of  Computor
limiting their pay scale to that of Junior Machine  Operators.   Both  those
posts were identified as Electronic  Data  Processing  posts.  Hence,  their
case is fully covered by the decision of the Tribunal  dated  31.07.2000  in
OA No. 2639/1999 titled Babu Lal & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. wherein  it
was held that the DEOs/DPAs covered under MOF (DOE)  O.M.  dated  11.09.1989
and hence they are entitled to re-fixation of their pay  in  the  respective
scales with effect from their initial date of appointment.
10.   The learned counsel for the appellants has contended  that  the  cases
of the respondents are not exactly similar to those of the O.As relied  upon
by the respondents. According to them,  even  though  the  respondents  have
been initially appointed w.e.f. 05.05.1987 and 19.05.1987 as Junior  Machine
Operators, the said posts have been abolished  w.e.f.  27.07.1995  and  they
were adjusted against the post of Computor on  their  request,     they  are
not entitled to refixation of their pay  with  effect  from  their  date  of
initial appointment.

11.   We have considered the rival contention raised by the learned  counsel
for the parties and have perused the record.
12.   The question relating to rationalisation of pay scales of  Electronics
Data  Processing  posts  in  different  departments  of  Ministries  of  the
Government of India was noticed and considered by this Court in  'Secretary,
Department of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension  &  Anr.  Vs.  T.V.L.N.
Mallikarjuna Rao',  C.A.No.10862  of  2014  etc.  etc.  This  Court  by  its
judgment dated 9th December, 2014  in  the  said  case  noticed  the  Office
Memorandum No. F.7(1)/IC/86(44) dated 11th September,  1989  issued  by  the
Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure  whereby
on the recommendation of the  Fourth  Central  Pay  Commission  and  further
recommendation made by  the  Committee  constituted  by  the  Government  of
India, pay scale of Electronic  Data  Processing  posts  likewise  Key-Punch
Operator,  Punch  Verifying  Operator,   Planning   Assistant,   etc.   were
rationalized. The relevant portion of the said office  memorandum  reads  as
follows:

                            "No.F.7(1)/IC/86(44)
                             Government of India
                             Ministry of Finance
                          Department of Expenditure
                             Implementation Cell

                                              New Delhi, dated 11th Sept: 89

                              OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Sub:  Rationalisation of pay scales of Electronic Data
     Processing posts:
      The undersigned is directed to refer to the recommendations of  Fourth
Central Pay Commission contained in paragraph 11.45 of  the  Report  wherein
it was suggested that  the  department  of  Electronic  should  examine  and
suggest reorganisation of existing  Electronic  Data  Processing  posts  and
prescribe uniform pay scales  and  designations  in  consultation  with  the
Department of Personnel. In pursuance of above suggestion, a  Committee  had
been set up by Department of Electronics in November,  1986.  After  careful
consideration of the recommendations made by this Committee,  Government  of
India has decided to introduce following pay structure for  Electronic  Data
Processing posts:-

|S. No.    |Designation of   |Pay scale     |                         |
|          |post             |              |                         |
|1.        |Data Entry       |Rs.1150-1500  |This will be entry Grade |
|          |Operator Grade   |              |for Higher Secondary     |
|          |'A'              |              |with                     |
|          |                 |              |knowledge of Data Entry  |
|          |                 |              |work.                    |
|2.        |Data Entry       |Rs.1350-2200  |This will be entry grade |
|          |Operator Grade   |              |for graduate with        |
|          |'B'              |              |knowledge of Data Entry  |
|          |                 |              |work of promotional Grade|
|          |                 |              |for Data Entry Operator  |
|          |                 |              |Grade 'A'                |
|3.        |Data Entry       |Rs.1400-2300  |Promotional Grade        |
|          |Operator Grade   |              |                         |
|          |'C'              |              |                         |
|4.        |Data Entry       |Rs.1600-2660  |Promotional Grade        |
|          |Operator Grade   |              |                         |
|          |'D'              |              |                         |
|5.        |Data Entry       |Rs.2000-3500  |Promotional Grade        |
|          |Operator Grade   |              |                         |
|          |'E'              |              |                         |
|Data Processing/Programming Staff                                     |
|1.        |Data Processing  |Rs.1600-2260  |Entry Grade for Graduates|
|          |Assistant Grade  |              |with                     |
|          |'A'              |              |Diploma/certificate in   |
|          |                 |              |Computer                 |
|          |                 |              |Applications.            |
|2.        |Data Processing  |Rs.2000-3200  |Promotional Grade        |
|          |Assistant Grade  |              |                         |
|          |'B'              |              |                         |
|3.        |Programmer       |Rs.2375-3500  |Direct Entry for holders |
|          |                 |              |of Degree in Engineering |
|          |                 |              |or post-graduation in    |
|          |                 |              |Science/Maths etc. or    |
|          |                 |              |post graduation in       |
|          |                 |              |Computer                 |
|          |                 |              |Application              |
|          |                 |              |Or                       |
|          |                 |              |By promotion from Data   |
|          |                 |              |Processing Assistant     |
|          |                 |              |Grade 'B'                |
|4.        |Senior Programmer|Rs.3000-4500  |Promotional Grade        |


2.    All  Ministers/Department  having  Electronic  Data  Processing  posts
under their administrative control will review the designation,  pay  scales
and recruitment  qualification  of  their  posts  and  revise  the  same  in
consultation with their Financial Advisor to the  extent  necessary  as  per
pay structure indicated in para 1 above. Where  it  is  found  necessary  to
revise the pay scale  of  existing  post  notification  will  be  issued  by
concerned Ministry/Department and copy of the notification  and  order  will
be sent to Implementation Cell and Department of  Expenditure.  The  revised
pay scales will be operative from the  date  of  issue  of  notification  by
concerned Ministry/Department.

If as a result of above review, pay scale of any  post  undergoes  a  change
the pay of existing incumbents will be fixed  as  per  fundamental  Rule  23
read with FR 22(a)(ii).

The review suggested in para 2 above will be made  only  with  reference  to
existing Electronic Data Processing posts and it will not  be  necessary  to
create all the grades in all Ministries/Departments, as it  will  depend  on
requirements of user Department. If Ministry/Department proposes  to  create
any grade which is not existing at present it will be done with approval  of
financial advisors and subject to procedures laid down for the purpose.

The qualifications etc. indicated against each grade in  para  1  above  are
only illustrative and Departments/Ministries will carry out  the  review  of
existing  EDP  posts  in  accordance  with  recruitment  rules  as   already
prescribed by them. To ensure uniformity in regard to Recruitment Rules  for
the EDP posts, Department of Personnel &  Training  is  being  requested  to
devise   model   Recruitment    Rules    which    can    be    adopted    by
Ministry/Department."


13.    It  was  further  noticed  that  in  view   of   the   aforesaid   OM
No.F.7(1)/IC/86(44) dated 11th September, 1989, Department of Personnel  and
Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance & Pensions, Government  of
India  by  O.M.No.AB  14017/75/89-Estt.(RR)  dated   13th   February,   1990
forwarded a copy of the Model Recruitment Rules for  various  categories  of
posts in the Electronic Data  Processing  Discipline.  Further,  this  Court
also noticed the Electronic Data Processing Discipline  (Group  C  Technical
Posts) Recruitment Rules, 1992 issued by the President of India in  exercise
of powers conferred by the proviso to Article 309  of  the  Constitution  of
India, from Department  of  Revenue,  Government  of  India,  Department  of
Personnel of Training,  Ministry  of  Personnel,  etc.  Having  noticed  the
aforesaid guidelines  and  Rules  in  Secretary,  Department  of  Personnel,
Public Grievances & Pension & Anr. Vs. T.V.L.N. Mallikarjuna Rao this  Court
observed as follows:

"8.   From the Office Memorandum and Rules, as noticed above, the  following
facts emerge:

(i)   In view of  the  recommendations  of  Fourth  Central  Pay  Commission
(paragraph 11.45 of the Report),  the  Government  of  India  constituted  a
Committee  to  suggest  the  reorganisation  of   existing   department   of
Electronic Data Processing posts such as Data Entry Operator which  were  in
the scale of pay of Rs.950-1150.

(ii)  By Office Memorandum dated  11th  September,  1989,  pursuant  to  the
aforesaid suggestions the Government  of  India  decided  to  introduce  pay
structure for Electronic Data Processing posts with  separate  nomenclatures
that is: (i)Data Entry Operator Grade 'A' - Rs.1150-1500  with  entry  Grade
for Higher Secondary with knowledge of Data  Entry  work;  (ii)  Data  Entry
Operator Grade 'B' - is promotional post of Data Entry Operator  Grade  'A',
similarly Data Entry Operator Grade 'C' is  promotion  post  of  Data  Entry
Operator Grade 'B' and Data Entry Operator Grade 'D' is  promotion  post  of
Data Entry  Operator  Grade  'C'  and  Data  Entry  Operator  Grade  'E'  is
promotional post of Data Entry Operator Grade 'D'.

      For such promotion,  the  person  is  not  only  and  required  to  be
qualified but must fulfill experience  condition  in  the  lower  grade  for
promotion to the higher post."


14.   In the present case the respondents were appointed as  Junior  Machine
Operator/Key Punch Operator w.e.f. 05.05.1987  and  19.05.1987  respectively
on  temporary  basis  in  the  pay   scale   of   Rs.950-20-1150-EB-25-1500.
Subsequently, their services were regularised w.e.f. 19.05.1989. In view  of
the Government of India O.M. dated 11th September, 1989 the posts of  Junior
Machine Operators/Key Punch  Operators  were  re-designated  as  Data  Entry
Operator Grade 'B' in the  pay  scale  of  Rs.1150-1500  w.e.f.  01.01.1986.
Therefore, respondent nos.1 and 2 became entitled to receive salary  in  the
pay  scale  of  Rs.1150-1500  with  effect  from  their  date   of   initial
appointment i.e. 05.05.1987 and 19.05.1987 respectively.

15.   Admittedly, the posts of Junior Machine Operator, etc. were  abolished
and, therefore, they were adjusted to  the  post  of  Computor.  Though  the
respondents were adjusted against the posts  of  Computor  w.e.f.04.11.1997,
the adjustment was so made with a condition that they have been drawing  the
salary and pay and allowances as admissible to the posts of  Junior  Machine
Operator which they were holding prior to 27th July,  1995.  Therefore,  the
respondents though hold the posts of Computor they were entitled to the  pay
scale of Rs.1150-1500 w.e.f. 27.07.1995.

16.   The respondents have taken plea  that  their  adjustment  against  the
vacant post of Computor by way of ad hoc promotion w.e.f. 04.11.1997 in  the
pay scale of Rs.4000-100-6000 but there was nothing  on  record  to  suggest
that they were granted ad hoc  promotion  w.e.f.  04.11.1997.  Further,  the
designation of post of Computor was changed to  Data  Entry  Operator  Grade
'B'.  In absence of any order of promotion no finding can be  given  whether
the respondents were entitled to next higher sale of pay.  However, if  they
were entitled for higher  scale  as  per  ACP  scheme  and  granted  by  the
competent authority they will continue to receive the same.

17.   In view of the finding as recorded above, no  interference  is  called
for against the impugned judgment dated 01st  August,  2013  passed  by  the
High Court and the order passed by the Tribunal as the  High  Court  rightly
held that the respondents to be treated as Data Entry Operator Grade 'A'  in
the pay scale of Rs.1150-1500 from the date  of  their  initial  appointment
and subsequent replacement of pay scale of Rs.4000-6000 from  the  date  the
pay scale was so revised.

18.   The appeal is dismissed but there shall be no orders as to costs.

                         .................................................J.
                                (SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)


                         .................................................J.
                                         (PRAFULLA C. PANT)
NEW DELHI;
JANUARY 6, 2015.
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