Union of India asked to deliberate upon the issue of non-grant of equal pay for equal work to Armed Personnel

Supreme Court: Stating that the Court would fail in it’s duty if it did not took note of the grievance of the BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP, RPF and SSB who are grieved by non-grant of equal pay for equal work, that is, benefit that has been granted to the organized services, the bench of Dipak Misra and M.M. Shantagoudar, JJ asked the respondents to file their duty chart in respect of each of the forces. The Court also asked the Union of India to file the duty chart and the job allocation so that a comparison can be made that can render assistance in the process of adjudication.

The Court was hearing the appeal filed against the order of the Delhi High Court creating Organized Group ‘A’ Services on the basis of certain notes, correspondences and the letters issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India, for it is the Home Department which has the jurisdiction/authority under the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957, Border Security Force Act, 1968, Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968, Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949, Sashastra Seema Bal Act, 2007 and Indo Tibetan Border Police Force Act 1992. The respondents, referring to an Office Memorandum which gives list of Central Group ‘A’ Services category wise, had contended that once an office memorandum has been issued accepting the position, it cannot be stated that it is based on office notes or a policy decision

The Court, agreeing to hear the matter, framed the following issues for consideration:

  • Whether by virtue of issuing the office memorandum by the DoPT classifying the categories with regard to Centralized Group ‘A’ Services, as a natural corollary, the respondents can have the similar benefits with the Organized Group ‘A’ Services, for Group ‘A’ Organized Services has drawn from the Central Group ‘A’ Services and their attributes thereof are provided for in the O.M. dated 20th November 2009?
  • Whether the Home Department alone responsible to take the decision or other departments can confer the benefit of equivalence subject to approval by the Cabinet?
  • Whether the nature of work of the persons who are engaged in this service would be a factor to extend the benefit by the Union of India on the principle of parity?

In addition to framing the above issues, the Court said that if the conferment of monetary benefit can assuage the grievance of the respondents, the Union of India may rethink over the matter without disturbing its sense of discipline as it conceives. The Court gave 12 weeks’ time to the Union of India to deliberate upon the matter so as to take a sound decision and listed the matter on 09.08.2017. [Union of India v. Shri Harananda, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 391, order dated 06.04.2017]

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