State of AP v. G. Sreenivasa Rao 1989 SCR (1)1000

Spread the love

You can grab notes for other topics from here.

 The common question that arose for decision by this Court is whether payment of less salary to a senior than his junior in the same cadre having the same scale of pay is violative of the principle of “equal pay for equal work”. There are a bunch of appeals clubbed together.
 The facts in relation to one appeal relate to Assistant Section Officers of Andhra Pradesh High Court. Copyists and Assistants are the two feeder channels to the post of assistant Section Officers. Prior to 1974 the Copyists were in the pay scale of Rs.70-130, and consequent upon pay revision, they were given the pay scale of Rs.250-430. The Copyists represented that while revising their grade, the additional emoluments which they were getting had not been taken into consideration. On recommendation of the High Court, the State Government agreed to fix the pay of the Copyists in the revised grade by adding to their basic pay Rs.83.34P, that being the average remuneration that each Copyist was earning.
 The common question that arose for decision by this Court is whether payment of less salary to a senior than his junior in the same cadre having the same scale of pay is violative of the principle of “equal pay for equal work”. There are a bunch of appeals clubbed together.
 The facts in relation to one appeal relate to Assistant Section Officers of Andhra Pradesh High Court. Copyists and Assistants are the two feeder channels to the post of assistant Section Officers. Prior to 1974 the Copyists were in the pay scale of Rs.70-130, and consequent upon pay revision, they were given the pay scale of Rs.250-430. The Copyists represented that while revising their grade, the additional emoluments which they were getting had not been taken into consideration. On recommendation of the High Court, the State Government agreed to fix the pay of the Copyists in the revised grade by adding to their basic pay Rs.83.34P, that being the average remuneration that each Copyist was earning.
 Another batch of appeals is filed by Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam. One B.V. Krishnamurthy and 62 others working as Upper Division Clerks in the Devasthanam filed writ petition in the High Court seeking that the Devasthanam be directed to pay salary to them at par with one D. Gopaliah, U.D.C. who was junior to them. Gopaliah joined as Lower Division Clerk in 1967 and was given Selection Grade in 1974. An incentive of Rs. 11 was added to his salary in 1977. He was promoted in 1979 but was reverted in 1981. He was given further increase in pay upon completion of 15 years service. He was again promoted and in that cadre, on the basis of his pay in the lower grade, his salary was fixed at Rs.861. On the other hand Krishnamurthi who joined as Lower Division Clerk in 1970, and promoted a little before Gopaliah, his salary was fixed at Rs.615.
 Therefore, Gopaliah though junior to Krishnamurthy started drawing more salary. Following his earlier decision, the learned Single Judge allowed the Writ Petitions filed by Krishnamurthy and others similarly placed. Their Writ Appeals were dismissed. Hence these appeals by Devasthanam. The Tribunal held that the rule of equal pay was violated under these facts.
 Before the SC upon appeal, it was contended by the appellants employers that so long as there is rational basis for giving higher pay to junior in the same cadre, the seniors can have no grievance. The last pay drawn in the lower cadre has to be the basis for fixation of salaries and following that basis, the salaries have been rightly fixed.
 It was also argued that only if all the consideration, factors and incidents of service are identical then only the principle of “Equal pay for equal work” is attracted. If there is justification under the Rules or otherwise for giving a higher pay to the junior then the principle in the abstract sense is not attracted.
 The Supreme Court held that doctrine of “Equal pay for equal work” cannot be put in a straight jacket. Although the doctrine finds its place in the Directive Principles, this Court, in various judgments, has authoritatively pronounced that right to “equal pay for equal work” is an accompaniment of the equality Clause enshrined in Article 14 and 16.
 Reasonable classification, based on intelligible criteria having nexus with the object sought to be achieved, is permissible. “Equal pay for equal work” does not mean that all the members of the cadre must receive the same pay packet irrespective of their seniority, source of recruitment, educational qualifications and various other incidents of service. When a single running pay-scale is provided for a post in a cadre, the Constitutional mandate of equal pay for equal work is satisfied. Ordinarily grant of higher pay to a junior would ex facie be arbitrary but if there are justifiable grounds in doing so, the seniors cannot invoke the equality doctrine.
 Difference on grounds such as, when persons recruited from different services or promoted, is based on intelligible criteria which has rational nexus with the object sought to be achieved and it therefore does not violate the mandate of equal pay for equal work.

You can grab notes for other topics from here.


Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *