Tripura High Court: In appeals directed against the judgment passed by the Single Judge in a batch of writ petitions, the Division Indrajit Mahanty, CJ. and S.G. Chattopadhyay, J upheld the decision to revise the pay scales of the members of the respondent’s union, including employees of Tripura Jute Mills Ltd. on a par with their counterparts in 32 public sector undertakings/Statutory bodies/Govt. undertakings etc. entitling them to the revised pay scales w.e.f. 01.01.1996 and other allowances such as house rent allowance, career advancement scheme, compensatory allowance, dearness allowance etc.
On the recommendations of the 4th Pay Commission, Tripura State Civil Services (Revised Pay) Rules, 1999 were introduced, thereby revising the pay scale for its officers and employees. Further, the officers and employees of Tripura Jute Mills Ltd. (‘TJML’) were also included in the report of the 4th Pay Commission and recommendations were made for revision of their pay scale and allowances, thus, the State Government issued a separate notification w.e.f. 01.04.1999 for employees of TJML. However, the employees of TJML filed a suit in the High Court contending that in other 32 Government undertakings/statutory bodies in the State, the pay revision in terms of the recommendations of the 4th Pay Commission was made effective from 01.01.1996 and there was no reason as to why the officers and employees of TJML which was similarly situated would be treated differently.
The single judge relied on the decision in A.K. Bindal v. Union of India, (2003) 5 SCC 163, and held that, the petitioners could not make out any enforceable right and observed that TJML was a loss incurring unit and the officers and employees of the unit were not entitled to similar treatment with that of the employees of other Government undertakings. However, the division bench reversed the judgment of the single judge and held that if TJML was a loss incurring unit , then it was the bounden duty of the State Government to take remedial measures and the same could not be a ground to deny the claim of revision of pay scales as per recommendations of the 4th Pay Commission to the employees of TJML from the date on which officers and employees of other autonomous bodies were given the benefit. Further, the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the division bench granting benefit of the 4th Pay Commission to Tripura Jute Mills Officers’ Association w.e.f. 01.01.1996 and allowed interest @6% on the amount due to each of the officers/employees w.e.f. the date of the division bench order.
Thereafter, the present respondent filed a writ petition, and the Single Judge directed the State to revise the pay scales of the members of the respondent’s union including employees of Tripura Jute Mills Ltd. on a par with their counterparts in 32 public sector undertakings/Statutory bodies/Govt. undertakings etc. entitling them to the revised pay scales w.e.f. 01.01.1996 and other allowances such as house rent allowance, career advancement scheme, compensatory allowance, dearness allowance etc. as considered by the division bench.
The Court observed that in the given facts and circumstances of the case, there is no reason to disagree with the findings of the Single Judge. There cannot be any doubt that the members of the workers’ union of TJML were not treated equally with the similarly situated workers of other Public sector undertakings (PSU)/Government undertakings/Statutory bodies etc. in the State in revising their pay scale in terms of the recommendations of the 4th Pay Commission.
Further, it was observed that the recommendations of the 4th Pay Commission have been made effective from 01.04.1999 in the case of the private respondents whereas the benefit of such pay revision is given to the employees of other PSUs w.e.f. 01.01.1996 and such discrimination has been made without any rational basis. Thus, there was no error committed by the Single Judge in directing the State to revise the pay scales of the members of the workers’ union including other employees of TJML on a par with their counterparts in the other 32 PSUs w.e.f. 01.01.1996 along with other allowances.
Moreover, the Court, while dismissing the appeals, directed the State to provide the benefit of the revised pay scales and allowances to the members of the workers’ union and other employees of TJML w.e.f. 01.01.1996 in terms of the impugned judgment of the Single Judge after adjustments of the dues already paid to them within a period of six months from the date of this judgment.
[State of Tripura v. Dr Parimal Kanti Chakraborty, 2022 SCC OnLine Tri 634, decided on 21.09.2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For Appellant: Advocate General S.S. Dey
Additional Government Advocate D. Sarma,
Advocate A. Chakraborty
For Respondent: Senior Advocate P. Roy Barman
Senior Advocate D. Bhattacharya
Senior Advocate Samarjit Bhattacharjee
Advocate K. Nath
Advocate A. Debbarma