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Gupta B.G. Vs. State of Mysore - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLabour and Industrial
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 1341 of 1964
Judge
Reported in[1968(17)FLR37]; (1967)IILLJ137Kant; (1967)1MysLJ208
ActsStates Reorganization Act
AppellantGupta B.G.
RespondentState of Mysore
Excerpt:
.....from january 1, 1957, the petitioner should also have been given the benefit of that revised pay-scale from january 1, 1957. he therefore seeks a mandamus that the benefit of that pay-scale should be given to the petitioner from january 1, 1957 until january 1, 1961, when he got the higher pay-scale under the government order of 6 december, 1961. 8. the petitioner was a class ii officer in the department of agriculture on 1 january 1957. class ii officers in the department of agriculture were composed of nine categories of posts such as assistant directors, district agricultural officer, superintendents and the like. 11. it is a well-settled proposition that, not all posts in a particular class need carry the same pay-scale. the petitioner's complaint about the revised pay-scale..........all the aspects of the case, government are pleased to direct that the revised scale of pay of the post of apiarist with effect from january 1, 1961, be rs. 275 - 20 - 375 - 25 - 600 instead of rs. 250 - 15 - 310 - 20 - 450 as originally sanctioned.'6. the pay-scale of rs. 250 rising to rs. 450 had been sanctioned with effect from january 1, 1961 and the higher pay-scale displaced it with effect from that date, on the recommendation of the director of agriculture.7. the complaint made by the petitioner is that, although this government order of december 6, 1961 amounted to a recognition of the equivalence of the post of a district agricultural officer and that of an apiarist on the basis of similarity of duties performed in the two respective posts, the effect to such recognition was not.....
Judgment:

Somnath Ayyar, J.

1. The petitioner was an Apiarist in the former State of Mysore in the pay-scale of Rs. 150-15-300. In the year 1952 his post was made a Class II post. After his allotment to the new State of Mysore under the provisions of the States Reorganization Act, the pay-scales in respect of posts in Class II in the new State of Mysore were revised. Except in the case of the petitioner, every Class II post carried a pay-scale of Rs. 225 rising to Rs. 500 in the department of Agriculture. This revision was made on 25 January, 1957.

2. On 13 April 1960, on a request for elucidation made by the Accountant-General, Government declared that the posts in Bombay Agricultural Service, Class II, should be equated and placed as Class II posts in the new Mysore State, and that all Class II officers of the Bombay, Madras, Hyderabad and Coorg areas shown in the provisional inter-State seniority list be allowed the scale of pay of Rs. 225 rising to Rs. 500. The relevant part of the Government order reads :

'After examining all the aspects of the case, Government is pleased to direct that the posts in Bombay Agricultural Service, Class II, be equated and placed to Class II and all the Class II officers of the Bombay, Madras, Hyderabad and Coorg areas shown in the provisional inter-State seniority list be allowed the scale of pay of Rs. 225-500 enumerated in Government order No. FI(B)/14034-14133/Bud. 119-56-3, dated January 25, 1957.'

3. But, meanwhile, the petitioner's post which was in the Department of Agriculture of the erstwhile Mysore State became a Class II post in the Department of Agriculture in the new State. When the revised pay-scale introduced for Class II posts on January 25, 1957 was not made available to the petitioner, he made a representation on November 7, 1959, to the Director of Agriculture. The Director of Agriculture was of the view that the petitioner, who was an Apiarist, was entitled to a pay-scale higher than Rs. 225-500 having regard to the nature of the duties performed by him, and made a recommendation that he be accorded that higher pay-scale. In the course of his communication of December 12, 1959, he stated thus :

'The bee-keeping section is a separate section in itself. The Apiarist is, therefore, head of this section. The nature and jurisdiction of the Apiarist extends all over the State and, (sic) attached to the post shall have to be in conformity with the duties and responsibilities attached to it. But as can be seen from the foregoing, the scale of pay of the post is lower than the scales of pay of district Agricultural Officers and other Class II officers, i.e., Rs. 225-500. He is the only gazetted officer, who is in the scale of Rs. 200-15-350 and who has jurisdiction on a State-wide basis unlike other Class II officers who are generally in charge of districts or research stations. Taking into consideration the nature and duties, responsibilities and jurisdiction of the officer, I am of the opinion that the scale of pay of the post should be on a par with a Bio-chemist, Special Officer, Japanese Method of Paddy Cultivation, etc., i.e., Rs. 300-700.'

4. We should have mentioned that the old pay-scale applicable to an Apiarist in the former State of Mysore had by then been revised and the pay-scale became Rs. 200 - 15 - 350.

5. It will be seen from the foregoing narration that the representation made by the petitioner was strongly backed by the Director of Agriculture, in whose opinion, the nature of the duties performed by an Apiarist was more onerous than those of other Class II officers who were in the pay-scale of Rs. 225-500. So it was that he recommended a still higher pay-scale of Rs. 300-700. This recommendation produced an order by Government on December 6, 1961. After referring to the various factors referred to by the Director of Agriculture, including the fact that an Apiarist had to perform duties all over the State unlike a District Agricultural Officer who performed duties only in his district. Government accorded sanction to the application of the pay-scale of a District Agricultural Officer to the post of an Apiarist. By then the old pay-scale of Rs. 225-500 of the District Agricultural officer had been revised and that pay-scale had become Rs. 275-20-375-25-600. It is this revised pay-scale that was made applicable to the post of the petitioner with effect from 1 January, 1961. The relevant part of the Government Order reads :

'After considering all the aspects of the case, Government are pleased to direct that the revised scale of pay of the post of Apiarist with effect from January 1, 1961, be Rs. 275 - 20 - 375 - 25 - 600 instead of Rs. 250 - 15 - 310 - 20 - 450 as originally sanctioned.'

6. The pay-scale of Rs. 250 rising to Rs. 450 had been sanctioned with effect from January 1, 1961 and the higher pay-scale displaced it with effect from that date, on the recommendation of the Director of Agriculture.

7. The complaint made by the petitioner is that, although this Government order of December 6, 1961 amounted to a recognition of the equivalence of the post of a District Agricultural Officer and that of an Apiarist on the basis of similarity of duties performed in the two respective posts, the effect to such recognition was not given for the period antecedent to January 1, 1961. It is contended that, if the pay-scale of a District Agricultural Officer became Rs. 225-500 from January 1, 1957, the petitioner should also have been given the benefit of that revised pay-scale from January 1, 1957. He therefore seeks a mandamus that the benefit of that pay-scale should be given to the petitioner from January 1, 1957 until January 1, 1961, when he got the higher pay-scale under the Government order of 6 December, 1961.

8. The petitioner was a Class II officer in the Department of Agriculture on 1 January 1957. Class II officers in the Department of Agriculture were composed of nine categories of posts such as Assistant Directors, District Agricultural Officer, Superintendents and the like. An Apiarist was one of them. On and from January 1, 1957, every other Class II post in that department, save the post of a Supervisor and the post of an Apiarist, carried the pay-scale of Rs. 375 rising to Rs. 600. The pay-scale of the Supervisor was Rs. 300 rising to Rs. 600. But the lowest pay-scale was that which was made applicable to an Apiarist which was Rs. 250 rising to Rs. 450.

9. In the same way, while the other Class II posts carried a pay-scale of Rs. 225 rising to Rs. 500 on January 1, 1957, the post of an Apiarist carried the pay-scale of Rs. 200 rising to Rs. 350.

10. The argument maintained before us by Sri Rama Jois for the petitioner was that once there was the acceptance of the position that the duties of an Apiarist were at least as arduous and exacting as those of a District Agricultural Officer who was in Class II, the discrimination made between the other Class II posts and the post of an Apiarist in regard to the pay-scale which was made applicable on 1 January, 1957 could not be supported.

11. It is a well-settled proposition that, not all posts in a particular class need carry the same pay-scale. Mere inclusion of a post in a particular class could not produce a right in the occupant of that post to claim the same pay-scale which the occupants of other posts in that class have been accorded. It is within the competence of the appropriate authority to fix varying pay-scales for various categories of posts in the same class, depending upon the nature of duties and functions to be performed in the post. That every post in the same class should have the uniform pay-scale despite the disparity in the nature of the functions and duties to be performed in the post is a postulate which cannot be sustained.

12. Tested by these principles, the mere fact that the petitioner was the occupant of a Class II post in the Department of Agriculture would not entitle him to the pay-scale applicable to other Class II posts in that department. What his pay-scale should be, is a matter for determination on the basis of the nature of the duties performable in the post. A post, in which the duties are more arduous, must necessarily carry a higher pay-scale although it belongs to the same class to which a post in which the duties are less arduous and less exacting belongs.

13. But it seems to us that there was a clear recognition by Government in their order of December 6, 1961 that the duties performed by an Apiarist in the Department of Agriculture were at least as arduous as the duties of all the other Class II posts in that department which carried the pay-scale of Rs. 275 rising to Rs. 600. In other words, the post of an Apiarist was in every respect at least similar to those other Class II posts. That was exactly the opinion transmitted by the Director of Agriculture on December 12, 1959, which found acceptance at the hands of the Government.

14. We cannot accede to the suggestion of Sri Rangaswami appearing for Government that that similitude did not exist during the period between January 1, 1957 and January 1, 1961. Indeed, the opinion formed by the Director of Agriculture was communicated in the year 1959, and it is seen from his communication to the Government that he was of the opinion that the duties of an Apiarist were all along at least equal to the duties of a District Agricultural Officer. The Proper way of understanding the order made by Government on December 9, 1961, in the context of the recommendation made by the Director of Agriculture, is to say that, at all relevant times the post of a District Agricultural Officer was equal to that of an Apiarist from the point of view of the nature of the duties to be performed by the occupant of the respective post. Had not Government reached that conclusion, they would not have accorded sanction to the application of the higher pay-scale to the post of an Apiarist with effect from January 1, 1961.

15. That being the true position, it would only be logical to say that the higher pay-scale which was applicable to the post of a District Agricultural Officer with effect from January 1, 1957, should also have been made applicable to the post of an Apiarist from that date.

16. The question whether the nature of the duties of two given posts is similar, is a question for assessment by the authority determining the pay-scale. It is not for this Court to review an assessment made in that way. But, once the assessment is made by the authority and the result of the assessment is a conclusion of similarity, so long as the posts are in the same class, and so are similar in every respect, there could be no disparity in the pay-scales. Now, in the case before us, Government, on a question of fact, deduced such similarity, and that deduction is what creates the right in the petitioner to similar treatment even in respect of the antecedent period between January 1, 1957 and 1 January, 1961.

17. Before concluding, we must observe that Sri. Rangaswami, the learned Government Pleader, depended upon two decisions of the Supreme Court and one of this Court. The decision in Kishori v. Union of India : [1962]44ITR532(SC) , can be of no assistance to the Government Pleader, since, in that case, the posts belonged to different classes. In State of Punjab v. Joginder Singh : AIR1963SC913 . The disparity in the two pay-scales was antecedent to the integration of the two categories of posts, and so, that decision is distinguishable. In Sitharamiah v. State of Mysore [(1965) 1 Mys. L.J. 739], the enunciation was that similarity should be deduced on the basis of the nature of functions and duties, and, that is exactly the principle which our decision in this case rests upon. So the Government Pleader cannot derive any assistance from any of these three decisions.

18. At one stage it was suggested to us that there has been dilatoriness on the part of the petitioner in presenting this writ petition. We do not think so. It is seen that at all relevant points of time, the matter was under consideration of the Government, either on the representation made by the petitioner or on the recommendation made by the Director of Agriculture. The petitioner's complaint about the revised pay-scale brought into being on 1 January 1957, commenced soon after there was a refusal of that pay-scale for him, and it was that complaint which resulted in the recommendation of the Director of Agriculture in the year 1959. Then again, when on April 13, 1960, the revised pay-scale was made applicable to every other post except the post of an Apiarist, in Class II, there was a representation made by the petitioner and it was on December 6, 1962 that Government acceded to one part of the representation and accorded to the petitioner the benefit of the further revised pay-scale with effect from January 1, 1961. The petitioner still continued to make a representation in regard to the antecedent period, and, the refusal of his request was communicated to the petitioner on April 24, 1964. This writ petition was presented on July 30, 1964. We do not, therefore, think that we should refuse the relief to which the petitioner is so clearly entitled on the ground suggested by Sri Rangaswami which has been demonstrated to be non-existent.

19. So the petitioner is entitled to a direction that in respect of the period between January 1, 1957 and January 1, 1961, the pay-scale of Rs. 225 rising to Rs. 500 which was applicable to the post of a District Agricultural Officer should also be made applicable to him. We make a direction accordingly. The petitioner will be entitled to all the consequential benefits emanating from this direction.

20. The petitioner will get his costs of this writ petition. Advocate's fee rupees one hundred (Rs. 100).


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