Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: A Division Bench of Ajai Lamba, C.J. and Achintya Malla Bujor Barua, J., ordered the Customs department to speed up the process of testing the seized consignment and costs to be deducted from the salary of the concerned persons if the process of the Court was delayed any further.

The Customs Authority was ordered to ascertain whether the bio security requirement of the Country had been satisfied in respect of the seized areca nuts, and a report was to be submitted by them. For this purpose, it was directed that the Customs authorities/DRI Guwahati shall take possession of some samples of the areca nuts which were with the Police authorities of Assam.

The Customs Authorities/DRI, Guwahati were required to comply with the aforementioned order, however, their response was absolutely lukewarm towards the direction issued by the Court. Since the Customs Department had been enjoined with the duty of complying with the order, the needful was required to be done at all costs.

Considering the conduct of the respondents, the Court by order notified the Customs Department that in case active steps were not taken; and representative samples were not collected from all the 26 trucks and not forwarded to the Laboratory, cost in the sum of Rs 20,000 would be deducted from the salary of the Additional Director General, Customs, Guwahati for delaying the process of the Court. This direction was issued considering that the recovered articles were perishable in nature. [Ali Trading v. State of Assam, WA 296 of 2019, decided on 15-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: Madhuresh Prasad, J. disposed of the writ petition on the ground that the petitioner was not incarcerated when joining was offered.

The petitioner was a Peon in the respondent bank. An FIR was lodged against the petitioner, his son and other family members alleging offences under Sections 304-B read with Section 34 of the Penal Code, 1860. The allegations led to the conviction of the petitioner. Later, the petitioner was granted bail and released from custody. He then submitted for his joining in the bank but was subsequently served with a notice of proposed punishment of dismissal by the respondent bank. The petitioner thus filed the instant proceedings.

During the pendency of the instant writ proceeding, the petitioner was dismissed on account of his conviction in the criminal case by the bank in view of the provisions contained in the Regulations 39 and 40. The petitioner had preferred a criminal appeal against the conviction order and the impugned order was set aside but he had already crossed the age of retirement by then.

The petitioner in view of the developments during pendency had sought for quashing of the order dismissing him from service and also prayed that he may be granted benefits of payment of salary from the date on which he offered joining. The counsel    Shashi Bhushan Kumar-Manglam representing the petitioner relied on the Judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Ranchhodji Chaturji Thakore v. Superintending Engineer, Gujarat Electricity Body, Himmat Narayan, (1996) 11 SCC 603, according to which the petitioner was entitled to grant of salary from the date on which he offered to join in the bank after his release on bail as thereafter he had been prevented from working by the authorities on account of their non acceptance of petitioner’s joining.

Advocates Prabhakar Jha and Mukund Mohan Jha, representing the bank submitted that the scheme of the Regulations which governed terms and conditions of the petitioner’s services make it abundantly clear that conviction by itself was a disqualification to continue in service. The mere fact of conviction was sufficient to dismiss an employee dispensing with the requirement of compliance with the principles of natural justice. He even referred to the same judgment relied on by petitioner’s Counsel to submit that it was only upon his acquittal in the criminal charges that the disqualification was removed.

The Court held that such an offer of joining, post acquittal which if not acceded to by the respondent authority, may ensue to the petitioner to claim salary. The petitioner’s status was of a convict at the time of submitting for joining and as such his claim for payment of salary for the period subsequent to such joining was not sustainable in the eyes of law.

It was further held that there was no disqualification against the grant of post-retirement benefits as was available under the service regulation.

In view of the above-noted facts, the instant petition was disposed of accordingly with the observation that the respondent Bank was to consider and dispose of the claim and pay the admissible dues within three months with regard to the retrial benefits of the petitioner. [Tarkeshwa Pandey v. Uttar Bihar Gramin Bank, Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 17545 of 2015, decided on 16-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Arun Monga J., allowed the application for the payment of the pay and allowances when petitioner was working on ad hoc basis.

A writ in the nature of mandamus was filed directing the respondent to pay along with other allowances and other service benefits equal/admissible to other employees regularly employed as Hindi Teachers.

The briefs facts of the case were that the petitioner was appointed on a temporary basis as the Hindi teacher and her duties and responsibilities were same as that of the other teacher appointed on regular basis. However, on completion of session, the services of the petitioner were terminated. The vacancy was again advertised and thus the petitioner joined the service without the issuance of the appointment letter and was continuing till the filing of the present writ petition.

R.L. Sharma, counsel for the petitioner submits that the policy of the respondents was against the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ as upheld by Courts in various judgments. She stated that having been given the same duties and responsibilities as the other Hindi Teacher, any discrimination with regard to her pay is in violation of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. Thus as the petitioner was serving the respondent-school since 1989 and was entitled to all the benefits being given to the other teachers. Reliance was placed on the case of Rattan Lal v. State of Haryana, (1985) 4 SCC 43, wherein it has been held that hire and fire policy being adopted in case of ad-hoc teachers is in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.

Counsel for the respondent submits that the school was a grant-in-aid minority institution and there was only one sanctioned post of Hindi teacher. It was conceded that the petitioner had been working in the respondent-school for the past decade albeit on a temporary basis. She was never appointed as Hindi teacher and was given various classes as and when the need arose. Hence, it was stated that she cannot claim parity with Hindi teacher working on a sanctioned post. It was also submitted that the terms of service of the petitioner were clear and specific and that the claim of the petitioner on par with the other teachers of the schools was wrong and cannot be allowed.

The Court opined that the prayer of the petitioner to the extent of being paid her salary and allowances and other benefits for the period of vacations/ weekends, as admissible to the other teachers employed in the school is fair and reasonable. It was further opined that respondent had exploited the vulnerability by throughout indulging in adhocism to deny the petitioner her legitimate dues on the ostensible ground of being a minority institute and the post of Hindi Teacher being a non-aided one against which the petitioner services were availed. Thus it was held that as per the principles of equal pay for equal work, the petitioner is entitled for regular scale as pay of Hindi Teacher as is being granted to another Hindi Teacher by the respondents besides other service benefits thereof and thus directed the respondent to calculate all the pay and allowances along with the arrears of salary for weekends and during the summer vacations.[Swaranjit Kaur v. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh; 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1373; decided on 01-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Providing relief to a lone Mumbai Port Trust employee who refused to link his salary account to Aadhaar, a Division Bench comprising of Akhil Kureshi and SJ Kathawala, JJ. has directed the trust to release his salary which was pending for over 30 months. The Court added interest of 7.5% per annum for delaying/withholding the payment of salary.

In December 2015, the Trust had issued a circular directing all employees to register their Aadhaar, failing which salary will not be credited to their account. The petitioner refused and approached the court to appeal for withdrawal of this circular. At this time, another petition was going on in the Supreme Court challenging the linking of Aadhaar with various schemes and payments. The respondent side contended that out of 800 employees, the petitioner was the sole employee who had objected to the linking.

The Court held, that even as a sole objector he had the right to dissent and the Port Trust had not been able to justify by what authority they were upholding his salary just because the matter was pending in the Supreme Court. Now that the Supreme Court has released its verdict in K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, (2017) 10 SCC 1, the trust should waste no more time in releasing his dues along with the penalty of interest for withholding the salary without any authority. [Ramesh R. Kurhade v. Financial Advisor and Chief Accounts Officer, Establishment Section, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 1060, decided on 20-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: G.S. Ahluwalia, J. contemplated a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, where the petition sought the total salary from the date of suspension i.e. 03-12-2016 to 28-06-2018 to be paid along with quashing of an order passed earlier.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that petitioner worked as Panchayat Secretary in Gram Panchayat Khatakiya, and was placed under suspension by an order passed in 2016 and since the charge sheet was not issued within the period of 45/90 days of the suspension order therefore by a subsequent order the suspension of the petitioner was revoked. However, full salary for the period of suspension had not been paid to the petitioner although he had been paid subsistence allowance. Subsequently, a charge sheet was served in 2017 a penalty of stoppage of one increment for a period of one year without cumulative effect was imposed and it had been held that the period of suspension shall be treated as “No work no pay” and the petitioner shall not be entitled to any other salary.

Against the order passed by the disciplinary authority, the petitioner had  filed an appeal before the Commissioner, Gwalior Division, which was returned back with a direction to the petitioner to present the same before the competent authority and accordingly the petitioner had filed an appeal before the Commissioner, Panchayat Raj, Madhya Pradesh which was  pending. It was submitted that as the appeal was pending, therefore, the petitioner was suffering from financial loss and under these circumstances, the appellate authority/Respondent 2 may be directed to decide the appeal as early as possible without any delay.

It was directed by the Court to consider the appeal of the petitioner as early as possible because of the losses he was suffering from.[Deewan Singh Kushwah v. State of M.P, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 1274, decided on 01-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court:  Ashok Kumar Gaur, J., allowed the application on the ground that so long the interim order was passed by the court the respondent can not absolve itself from the responsibility of payment of salary to the petitioner.

An application was made by the petitioner for seeking direction against the respondents to release monthly salary. 

Narendra Kumar Meena, counsel for the petitioner submitted that the court had passed an interim order and directed the respondent to allow the petitioner to continue on the post of Security Guard. The petitioner thus joined the service as per the court’s order and was working continuously till date. It was submitted that in spite of continuous working of the petitioner the salary was not being released by the respondents. Thus, the application. 

Sandeep Kalwaniya, counsel for the respondent submitted that the contract period of the petitioner had already been expired and thus the respondent was not responsible to make any payment to the petitioner. 

The court after the submission of the parties held that order was passed by the court giving direction to the petitioner to continue on the post of a security guard and thus the respondent was liable to pay the salary to the petitioner same as he was getting on the date of the termination of the service. The court further held that if the decision of the not engaging any security guard in the office was taken by the respondent the same should be apprised to this court by filing an affidavit. Thus the court allowed the application and directed to “make payment of the salary to the petitioner directly from the date of his joining till date and payment will also be made on month to month basis till the interim order continues”.[Ramavtar Bunkar v. State of Rajasthan,  2019 SCC OnLine Raj 822, decided on 09-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Bench of Sanjeev Kumar, J., disposed of the petition filed against the order of transfer and for release of salary for a certain period with the instruction to pay the salary to the employee for the period the petitioner claimed to have performed his duties. The order of transfer was upheld.

The facts of the case were that the petitioner was transferred from Chadoora to Handwara. The petitioner challenged the impugned order on the ground that his salary for the period when he was working as Junior Engineer in Kupwara was released either by the PHE Division, Kupwara, or the PHE Division, Chadoora. The petitioner was actually relieved after a few months of his transfer notice.  While the petitioner was working in PHE Division Kupwara, his salary for the period from August, 2016 to April, 2017 was not released on account of non-availability of requisite funds in the Division.

The Court held that the challenge to the transfer order should fail because the order was passed in the interest of administration. The petitioner had no right to remain posted at a particular place indefinitely or for a specified period. With regard to release of salary of pay, the Court held that the petitioner cannot be denied the hard-earned salary on any count, if he has worked. The paucity of funds cannot be an excuse to deny the salary to a Government employee. [Ghulam Hassan Khawja v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 243, Order dated 07-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Bench of Gita Mittal, CJ and Sanjeev Kumar, J. dismissed the appeal filed against the order wherein a direction to the appellants was given to consider the case of the respondent which was in relation to his unreleased salary.

The facts of the case are that the respondent (writ petitioner) was working as a daily rated worker with the appellants in the position of a Helper. The respondent was absent from duty from October 1986 and that despite issuance of a notice, he did not report for duties. The appellants claimed that the respondent submitted his resignation in 1987 which was sent to the higher authorities for instructions. However, this resignation did not culminate in any final order of acceptance. Even otherwise, the appellants were unable to support this assertion on their part for the reason that they were unable to produce any record relating to this resignation. The respondent thus disputed the fact of having given any resignation. The respondent was compelled to file a writ petition for the reason that his salary was not released.

The Court held that the appellants had not passed any formal order of termination of the services of the respondent thus the directions made in the writ petition by the impugned order were fully justified and could not be faulted on any legally tenable ground. It was also directed that for the period the respondent remained unauthorizedly absent from duty, he would not be paid salary. The appeal was thus dismissed. [Power Development Deptt. v. Javaid Ahmad Mir, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 1047, Order dated 14-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Anil Kumar Upadhyay, J. quashed an office order denying payment of salary to the aggrieved petitioner whose appointment was disputed.

In the present matter, appointment of the petitioner as a teacher and his counseling by the District Teachers Employment Appellate Authority was under cloud. The Appellate Authority, on consideration of the entire facts, directed employment unit to take steps to ensure counseling of the petitioner. However, petitioner’s claim for payment of his salary was rejected on the ground that legality and validity of his appointment was under dispute. Hence, the instant petition.

The Court observed that as the petitioner was regularly working for respondent and they were taking benefit of his work, therefore he was entitled to his full salary. At the highest, on the basis of Appellate Authority’s observations, respondents might take an appropriate decision; but without taking any such decision against the petitioner, denial of his salary was impermissible. It was noted that there was no finding as to the invalidity of petitioner’s appointment. In view thereof, the petition was allowed directing the respondents to pay arrears of salary to the petitioner for the period that he had actually worked until a further decision as to the validity of his appointment is was reached. [Akhilesh Pandey v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2160, decided on 03-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: This appeal was filed before a Single Judge Bench of Rohit Arya, J., under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 against the impugned order passed by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (Shajapur).

Facts of the case were that deceased met with an accident caused by the rash and negligent driving of respondent thereby causing their death. The respondent’s vehicle was insured with Insurance Company (Respondent 3). The claimant brought before Court the salary earned by deceased at the time of his death i.e. Rs 3,500. The claimant suffered not only the loss of love and affection of their family member but also financial constraints. The claimants were aggrieved by the meager compensation awarded by the Tribunal and prayed for its enhancement. The issue before the court was whether the compensation awarded by Tribunal of Rs 2,41,000 was justified.

Insurance company supported the award of compensation passed by Tribunal to be just, appropriate and proper with no requirement of enhancement. The High Court was of the view that impugned award was not assessed properly, being on the lower side it needed to be enhanced taking into consideration the age, dependency of the deceased and his future prospects. Court found it appropriate to deduct 1/3 instead of 1/2 towards personal expenses of the deceased. On viewing that Tribunal did not award compensation under the head ‘future prospects’, compensation was granted under the above head. Therefore, the appeal was allowed and award of compensation was enhanced to Rs 2,44,000. [Samrat v. Manish,2018 SCC OnLine MP 833, order dated 16-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Surya Kant, CJ and Ajay Mohan Goel, J., disposed of a writ petition whereby absorption in government service was allowed irrespective of the source of salary paid.

Intra-Court appeals which arose out of a common and same set of judgments were filed before the High Court. It was contended by the respondent that the appellant issued a notification whereby it decided to take over a college where he was working as a lecturer on a regular basis and hence the services of teaching and non teaching staff were taken over of which he was denied the benefit which calls for discrimination under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. In the second case, the claim was rejected as the respondent was not recruited through an open competitive selection process but covered a considerable time at her employment.

The appellant contended that since the salary the respondent receives was by Self-Financing Scheme and not Grant-in-Aid released by the Department of Education, therefore she fell out of the scope of benefit.

The Court came to the conclusion that acquisition of a college was required in a larger public interest and thus the source of payment was not a consideration with both kind of employees forming a homogeneous class and no artificial discrimination could be made amongst them and hence the respondent stood absorbed in the service. For the second case, the respondent was allowed service on account of sympathetic consideration. However, such absorption will be on notional basis and she will be entitled to salary from the date of actual appointment. The appeals were disposed of accordingly.[State of H.P v. Kamlesh Kumar,2018 SCC OnLine HP 1581, decided on 30-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Hima Kohli and Pratibha Rani, JJ., listed a writ petition before it for next hearing on 14.03.2018. The petitioner was recruited in the SSB on the post of GD/Ct on 01.02.2006 and while on employ had undergone a surgery for a kidney transplant on 18.03.2015. The present petition was for the issuance of a writ of mandamus for release of a sum of Rs. 11,21,716 which was incurred by him on his surgery and to treat a previous loan of Rs. 6 lakhs extended to him from the SSB, Central Welfare Fund as an amount sanctioned for medical expenses incurred.

The petitioner claimed that from July, 2017 onwards, the respondents had started to deduct Rs. 30,000 from his salary every month in an arbitrary manner. The counsel for the respondents argued that the loan which was given to the petitioner had it’s first installment of Rs. 10,000 due in February, 2015. Further, the counsel argued that the petitioner deposited five installments totaling a sum of Rs. 40,000 between 06.07.2016 to 08.06.2017 before abruptly stopping the installments. Upon a notice being served, the petitioner requested via reply dated 03.08.2017, that monthly installments be deducted from his salary and he be given six months’ time to pay the entire amount and it was under this request that deductions were effected.

The Court asked the respondents to produce rules which permit the respondents to make such hefty deductions for recovery of loan. The Addl. DG, SSB was also directed to file an affidavit explaining the circumstances and rule position which empower the respondents to deduct over 80% of the petitioner’s salary on his defaulting in paying back the loan amount. The said affidavit was directed to be filed within four weeks with a copy to the learned counsel for petitioner. The Court noted that the respondents had not deducted any amount from the petitioner’s salary for the month of January, 2018, further directing the respondents to not deduct any amount till the next date of hearing. [Manish Kumar v. Union of India,  2018 SCC OnLine Del 7218, decided on 06.02.2018]