Skip to content


P.N. Chopra and ors. Vs. Union of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService;Constitution
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 329 of 1980
Judge
Reported inILR1981Delhi102a
ActsConstitution of India - Article 14
AppellantP.N. Chopra and ors.
RespondentUnion of India and ors.
Advocates: A.B. Saharia,; D.K. Nag,; S.M. Babu,;
Excerpt:
.....to high court with private secretary to chief secretary arbitrary and discriminatory on part of delhi administration and union of india - discrimination vocative of articles 14 and 16 - impugned order fixing pay scale of petitioners at lower scale than that given to private secretary to chief secretary quashed. - - the paycommission had recommended that the clerical supervisorsshould get the scale of rs. 350-575 it had recommended that the payscales which was earlier rs. 650-960 that had been recommended for the reporters inthe delhi administration and in spite of his having pointed outthat the status of the judges was not lower than that of the secretaries to the central government. but we fail to find anysuch conceivable reason either given in the return or even urgedby the..........secretaries and the readers will bers. 550-900 which is the scale of the supervisory staff in delhiadministration and the government of india passed the impugnedorder on 8-8-1975 in that regard. as already mentioned the impug-ned orders had been earlier challenged in the writ petition andnotwithstanding the merits having been found in favor of theprivate secretaries and the readers, relief could not be given tothem. however, when the final refusal was again given in august1979 the present petitioners who are different from those whohad filed the earlier writ petition moved this court for seekingrelief.(5) the matter is in fact a very short one. the petitionersclaim that equation of their post with that of the supervisorystaff in delhi administration is devoid of any rational basis.....
Judgment:

Sachar, J.

(1) Seven years' wait to get justice from DelhiAdministration by the Staff belonging to the court of justice isthe ironic background to the present writ petition.

(2) This is another round of litigation which has been initiatedby the Private Secretaries and Readers to the Judges of this courtseeking justice from Delhi Administration in the matter of fixation of their pay scales. In spite of the expression to a feelingby this court that there has been improper classification and in-justice done to the Private Secretaries and the Readers and expressing a hope that the administration would consider thematter of classification of the petitioners afresh keeping in view thevarious relevant factors and considerations, the hope has beenbelied. It may be mentioned that why in spite of holding thatthere was improper classification the writ was notgranted wasbecause of the peculiar position of clasuse (b) of Article 226 asit then stood and which gave a limited scope for issuance of thewrit by this court. That difficulty no longer stands in the waybecause of the 44th amendment by which the scope of Article 226 now has been brought to a stage where it was before the 42ndamendment of the Constitution. Subsequent to the judgmentgiven in Shashi Bhushan Vohra & others v. Union of Indiaand others, 1978(2) Slr 356 ; the Registrar of this court by hisletter of 24-7-1978 took up the matter requesting again that theequation of the Private Secretaries and Readers in the matter ofpay scales be done at least with the Private Secretary to the ChiefSecretary of Delhi Administration. On 7-8-1979 (almost a fullyear later) the Deputy Secretary, Delhi Administration conve-yed the opinion of the Delhi Administration that the proposaldid not find favor with the Finance Department. However, ahope was held out that the proposal may again be sent with fulljustifications in detail. One can only marvel at the naivete shownby the Delhi Administration in having categorically rejected theproposal and still keeping dangling suggestion of a further reconsideration.

(3) The petitioners (Petitioner No. 1 being a Private Secretaryand petitioner No. 2 being a Reader) attached to this court apparently were left with no alternative to get justice in the matter offixation of their pay scales but move this court praying for quashing the decision of the Delhi Administration by which their payscales have been fixed in the grade of Rs. 550-900, and seekinga mandamus directing the Delhi Administration to grant themhigher pay scales on the principles as have been adopted andapplied in respect of similarly placed persons in governmentservice. Third Pay Commission was appointed in 1970. The PayCommission fixed the various scales but did not fix any for thestaff of this court because it took the view that under Article 229 of the Constitution the staff of this court was outside thescope of recommendations by the Commission.

(4) As the staff of this court is situate in Delhi which is theUnion Territory they were treated as the employees of the Unionof India. Their salaries are paid out of the consolidated fund ofIndia. The Government of India by its resolution of 1-11-1973accepted the recommendations of the Third Pay Commissionsubmitted by its report on 31-3-1963 and decided that the recom-mendations of the Commission on the matters in respect of thecategories of Central Government in Class 2,3 & 4 will be broadlyaccepted. It may be mentioned that the Private Secretaries and theReaders of this court will fall within Class 2 category. The PayCommission had recommended that the clerical Supervisorsshould get the scale of Rs. 550-900, and for Private Secretaries,P.A. instead of Rs. 350-575 it had recommended that the payscales which was earlier Rs. 350-575 should be revised tors. 650-960. The Delhi Administration fixed the pay scales forthe Supervisory staff at Rs. 550-900 and also fixed the samegrade for the petitioners. This was done notwithstanding the recommendations made by the Chief Justice of this court by communications of 4-5-74 that the petitioners be fitted in the pay scale ofRs. 650-960 that had been recommended for the Reporters inthe Delhi Administration and in spite of his having pointed outthat the status of the Judges was not lower than that of the Secretaries to the Central Government. Apparently at one stage theGovernment of India had doubts about the validity of this orderas is clear from the communication of 12-9-1974, Annexure 'E'to the petition, written to the Chief Secretary, Delhi Administration, requesting that the Delhi Administration should re-examinethe matter. Though Delhi Administration is administered by thePresident of India, the administration refused to accept the sug-gestion of the Government of India and stuck to its decisionthat the scales of the Private Secretaries and the Readers will beRs. 550-900 which is the scale of the Supervisory staff in DelhiAdministration and the Government of India passed the impugnedorder on 8-8-1975 in that regard. As already mentioned the impug-ned orders had been earlier challenged in the writ petition andnotwithstanding the merits having been found in favor of thePrivate Secretaries and the Readers, relief could not be given tothem. However, when the final refusal was again given in August1979 the present petitioners who are different from those whohad filed the earlier writ petition moved this court for seekingrelief.

(5) The matter is in fact a very short one. The petitionersclaim that equation of their post with that of the supervisorystaff in Delhi Administration is devoid of any rational basis andis arbitrary. Mr. Saharya, the learned counsel for the petitionerswho appears has urged that there is no justification for not equating the post of Private Secretary or the Reader to a Judge of thiscourt with at least to the Private Secretary to the Chief Secretaryof the Delhi Administration. It is true that each service has vanityof its own but judicial humility and judicial reservation is a partof the tradition of judiciary. We do not wish to enterinto thequestion whether the work done by a Judge of this court or thework done by the Chief Secretary is more onerous and more responsible because that is not the point of dispute. The questiononly is whether the duties performed by the Private Sectetaries andthe Readers to the Judges are of less onerous, less confidentialand less important nature than that of a private secretary to the Chief Secretary. We are referring only to the duties performed bya Private Secretary to the Chief Sectetary for the reason that Mr.Saharya had urged that the petitioners even though they maintainand claim that their work is more confidential, more onerous andmore responsible nature than even the Private Secretary to theChief Secretary of the Delhi Administration, they would be quitecontent if their post could at least be eqnated to the Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary. Mr. Bindra sought to urge that thematter is of a subjective nature and as the administration hastaken a view that these two posts of the petitioners cannot be .compared, this court cannot sit as an appellate forum. It is truethat if it could be said that the decision of the respondent is notaccepting the equation of the post of a Private Secretary/andReaders to the Judge of this court with a Private Secretary to theChief Secretary of Delhi Administration was one which a reasonable person properly instructed on relevant facts and law couldtake, this court in the extraordinary jurisdiction 'of these writproceedings may not re-assess that finding. But we fail to find anysuch conceivable reason either given in the return or even urgedby the counsel in support of the decision taken by the respon-dents 1 and 4. The only reason mentioned is a bald allegationunsupported by any factual or legal data that the job of a PrivateSecretary to the Chief Secretary of Delhi Administration is moreresponsible and involves more onerous duties. But this bald allegation is not enough to save the decision of the Administrationfrom being called arbitrary. It cannot be disputed that the postsof Private Secretaries and Readers in the High Court are veryresponsible posts requiring a very high level of integrity and confidence apart from the Very high degree of efficiency and accuracy in various matters of functioning, and the promptitude of thedisposal of the matters. Considering the stakes involved in thelitigations and the burden of confidentiality reposed on theseofficers it would be difficult to find any other service in Administration which can claim even a close approximation of the responsibilities involved. In the Administration most of the correspondence, the job and the work done by the Private Secretary tothe Chief Secretary would be of a routine kind entailing normalcorrespondence between various offices or even the public.Very little of the work could be of confidential and highlysensitive nature. This cannot be said of the post of PrivateSecretaries and Readers attached .to the Judges of this courtbecause the job of maintaining the secrecy and the confidentiality of the judgments and considering the sanctity of the recordsthe work requires a much higher sense of duty and dedicationthan any of the comparable level of staff in the Administration.In this connection it may also be noted that in the Punjab andHaryana High Court the Private Secretaries and Readers to theJudges have been equated to the post of Private Secretaries to thePunjab Civil Secretariat, in pursuance of a sanction granted by thePresident of India as required by Article 223(2), read with Provisoto Article 231(2) of the Constitution as per sanction accorded bythe President as conveyed in letter of 23-4-1970. The importantthing is that the President had accepted the suggestion of theChief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to equate theirPrivate Secretaries and Readers with that of the Private Secretariesin the Punjab Civil Secretariat. Surely some Explanationn must begiven why Delhi Administration which administers the UnionTerritory on behalf of the President of India should refuse tofollow the direction given by the President in the matter of equation of these jobs. None has been forthcoming. One of the waysof comparing the two posts could be by means of some uniformtest. Luckily for. the petitioners that test has been indicated by theGovernment of India itself and that is really the reason why thepresent petitioners felt bold to move this court.

(6) In this connection a reference be made to Annexure I ofMemo dated 18-11-1979 on the subject of creation of posts ofstenographers in non-Secretariat organisations clarifying that theposts of Stenographers attached to all officers drawing pay in thescales of Rs. 2250-2500 and above may be upgraded to the scaleof Rs. 550-900 irrespective of the fact whether they have beendeclared as Heads of Departments or not. We may mention thatprior to the upgrading the posts of Stenographers carried thescale of Rs. 425-700. It is this memorandum which was stronglyput forth as an argument for showing discrimination and' arbi-trariness in the action of the respondents 1 & 4. The argument wasthat the Government of India has accepted as a basis' for fixationof the pay of a stenographer in the grade of 558-900, the salarydrawn by an officer to whom he is attached, which is from Rs.2250-2500. If that be so the. question was posed firmly by Mr.Saharya and which was unanswered by Mr. Bindra as to what wasthe justification for fixing the pay scale of. Rs. 5.50*900 for the Private Secretaries and Readers attached to the Judges who are inthe scale of a salary of Rs. 3500 at the same pay scale as isbeing given to a stenographer attached to an officer getting Rs.2750 at the highest. We find force in this contention and wemust hold that we. can find no reason whatsoever as to how thesame scale of pay of Rs. 550-900 can bejustified to be given to thePriyate Secretaries and Reader attached to the Judges of thiscourt when in terras of the memorandum of 18-11-1979 the samepay scale is being given to the stenographers attached to the Offi-cers drawing pay up to Rs. 2750. It was not disputed that theChief Secretary's scale is not higher than that of Rs. 3500.Judging purely, .therefore, by the monetary test which in the pre-sent context of our social set up is usually accepted as a goodmeasure and has also been accepted by the Government of Indiaas a proper one, there is no justification at all. to deny to the petitioners the equation and same pay scale which is being given tothe Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary of Delhi' Administra-tion. Denial is s6 arbitrary and so without any justification thatit amounts to a denial of equality because even though the PrivateSecretaries and the Readers may constitute a separate class from the Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary but as equation hasto be done in terms of the Pay Commission Report, report andthe decision taken by the Government of India the treatment inthe matter of pay scales of these two posts so differently cannotbe allowed to be done in such arbitrary manner as has been saidto be done by respondents 1 & 4. We must, thereforee, conclude that the denial to equate the Private Secretaries and Readers inthe matter of pay and other benefits with that of the Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary is an act of discrimination and arbi-trarinessat the hands of the Delhi Administration as well as Unionof India and would violate Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitutionand the impugned order fixing the pay scale of the petitioners ata lower scale than that being given to the Private Secretary to theChief, Secretary cannot be sustained and must be quashed.

(7) Mr. Bindra had also as a last desperate resort wanted us topostpone the matter because he urged that he had informationthat there was going to be a high level meeting and the matter maybe sorted out. He was evidently referring to the letter of 29-9-1980attached as R-3 to the reply (which referred to a letter of2-5-1980). We have seen that letter and it appears that this argu-ment has been based on some misunderstanding because that letterrelates only to the ntomination of Superintendents, Rcaders andPrivate Secretaries of Delhi High Court to Dhani Civil Service.The Registrar of this Court had also asked for this meeting on13-10-1980 and that is why Mr. Bindra had urged that possiblythe matter of pay scale may still be decided in favor of the petitioners.

(8) We, however, called for the information from the Registry and have satisfied ourselves that the letter dated 2-5-1980related only to the induction of these categories i.e. Private Secretaries, Readers and Superintendents in Dhani Service and wasnot relatable to the pay scale which is the subject matter of thiswrit petition. We may also, however, add that the Delhi Administration has since informed this Court by its letter of 24-11-1980that the proposal to induct these three categories in the DhaniService also cannot be adhered to. In that view obviously Mr.Bindra could not even urge that any useful purpose could beserved by postponing the hearing. The decision of the Adminis-tration rejecting the claim of the petitioners was communicatedon 7-8-1979 and there has been no change in the thinking of therespondents 1 & 4. As a result we are quite satisfied that the refusal to equate the Private Secretaries and Readers of this Courtwith the Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary in the matter ofpay scale is so arbitrary as to amount to an act of discrimination.We would, thereforee, in the circumstances quash Annexures 'G'and 'H' and the latest decision communicated on 7-8-1979 (R-2filed in reply by the Delhi Administration). A mandamus will,therefore, issue directing the respondents 1 & 4 to equate the postsof Private Secretaries and the Readers of Judges of this court tothat of a Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary, Delhi Administration.This wilt take effect from 1-1-1973in terms of the decisionalready taken by the Government of India, as mentioned in theirmemoranda of 8-8-1975 and 22-8-1975 (Annexures 'G'&'H' tothe petition) The petitioners had expressed apprehension thatfor the last 6 or 7 years equation has not been done properly andthey were worried that time will take place. Counsel on behalf ofthe respondents 1 & 4 have very fairly stated that there need beno apprehension and they hoped that equation will be done veryexpeditiously, possibly within an outside limit of 4 months. Thewrit petition is, thereforee, allowed as above. No costs.

(9) We have in this writ petition issued a mandamus regardingthe cases of Private Secretaries and Readers for the obvious reasonthat they are the only petitioners before us. We may, however, inthis connection note the communication sent by the Chief Justice of this Court as far back as September 1974 in which he hadrecommended the upgrading of the scales of the Superintendentsalso. We have no manner of doubt that in view of our Judgmentgiven today the question of giving the same benfit to that classof staff will also receive immediate and sympathetic decision atthe hands of the respondents. We are saying this so that ourJudgment should rot be taken to be in any way having said any-thing adverse about the claims of the other staff which is notbefore us in this petition.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //