1. The appellant was appointed as Sub Inspector of Central Excise in March, 1945 in Central Excise and Salt Department. The post was redesignated as Inspector of Central Excise in 1948. In the same year, the Department was separated into two departments called as Salt Department and Central Excise Department. On option extended to the personnel in the Central Excise Department, appellant opted to continue as Inspector of Salt in the newly created Salt Department with the same scale of pay etc., as in the Central Excise Department. He was promoted as Deputy Superintendent of Salt in 1963 and later promoted as Superintendent of Salt. He retired in the said post on 30th September, 1979. He preferred W.P. No. 5017 of 1978 for quashing the order of the first respondent dated 16th October, 1978, in and by which, the representations made by Deputy Superintendents/Inspectors of Salt Department for revision of their pay scales with effect from 1st July, 1959 under C.C.S. (Revised Pay) Rules, 1960 was rejected. He had sought for a direction to issue to respondents 1 to 3 to implement the contents in letter dated 28th March, 1966 and the order dated 24th June, 1967 with effect from 1st July, 1959 and pay the arrears under C.C.S. (Revised Pay) Rules, 1960 in so far as the appellant is concerned.
2. His contention in short is that, after bifurcation in 1948, the personnel of Salt Department have to be treated on a par with their counterparts in Central Excise Department as they are discharging similar duties, and when first respondent had finally agreed to revise the scales of pay as obtaining in the Excise Department, it ought to have granted relief to them with effect from 1st July, 1959 as was granted to the personnel in the Excise Department, and should not have restricted the relief only with effect from 1st May, 1967, the date on which the order was passed by the Government of India granting revised pay. The Second Pay Commission Scales of Pay having become effective on and from 1st July, 1959 and since revised scales of pay having been extended to the personnel in the Central Excise Department, the first respondent could not have fixed an arbitrary date for implementation of the revised scales of pay to the personnel of Salt Department i.e. from the date of the order. Based on the concept of equal pay for equal work and discriminatory treatment being prohibited under Art. 14 of the Constitution of India, the appellant is entitled to the relief as claimed.
3. On behalf of the respondents, it was admitted that the bifurcation took place in 1948 and that the Second Pay Commission was the first Commission constituted after the bifurcation and it gave its report in August 1959 and it was implemented with effect from 1st July, 1959. Salt Department was not one that was excluded from its purview. In its report, no reference was made to the Salt Department. On representations received from the personnel in Salt Department claiming that they should be placed on a part with their counter parts in Central Excise Department, the Government of India, on taking into account the scales of pay of the counterparts in other Central Government Departments, deemed it fit to fix the scales of pay in the case of Inspectors and Deputy Superintendents with effect from 1st July, 1959. It is not disputed that even though this revised scale of pay was arrived at later on, it was made effective from 1st July, 1959. Still, the staff of Salt Department not being satisfied, submitted representations to the Government to place them on a par with their counterparts in the Central Excise Department. On 4th May, 1962, the Ministry called upon the concerned staff to exercise their option for the scales of pay already offered, and they were also informed that they would be given fresh option to elect modified scales of pay, if and when ordered by the Government on the basis of the report of S.R. Unit after their completing a comparative study of the duties and responsibilities of the Inspectors and Deputy Superintendents in the Central Excise and Salt Departments. On this basis, after a comparative analysis was made, Government of India took a decision to fix the same scales of pay as obtaining in the Central Excise Department to Inspectors and Deputy Superintendents in the Salt Department, but made it operative only from 1st April, 1966/1st May 1967. It is the contention of the respondent that the option given was for only 'choosing either the scales of pay that were offered by the Government with effective from 1st July, 1959 or those that may be offered subsequently, but not about the date of implementation.' The revision of scales of pay could be operative only from the date of the order and cannot trace back to 1st July, 1959 when the Second Pay Commission Scales of Pay were made effective. The revision of scales of pay having been done by the Government, no reliance could be placed on implementation of the decision of the Second Pay Commission. Duties and responsibilities attached to these posts are in no way identical to those working in the Central Excise Department. The scale of pay was fixed on an ad-hoc basis. The decision of the Supreme Court in W.P. No. 81 of 1969 is not applicable to the facts and circumstances of this case.
4. Learned Judge repelled the claim of the appellant on two grounds. They being : (1) Art. 14 of the Constitution would not apply because the duties of the personnel in the Central Excise Department are different from those working in the Salt Department and (2) when the Pay Commission had not dealt with the revision of scales of pay in the Salt Department and as the Government alone refixed the scales of pay, it cannot be made effective from the date of the Second Pay Commission's report, and that Government can fix the effective date by reference to the date of the order.
5. 'Equal pay for equal work' where responsibilities are same, had not been borne in mind while rejecting the claim of the appellant. After the report by S.R. Unit and when the scales of pay obtaining in the Excise Department were found to be the proper scales of pay to be made applicable to Inspectors and Deputy Superintendents in the Salt Department, thereafter it would not be open to the respondents to claim that the nature of duties and responsibilities are not identical. Pay Commission being a recommendatory authority and Government alone having the right to fix the scales of pay, whether a particular department is adverted to or not by it, even though the said department is not outside the reference made to it, and later on, merely because the Government on it sown had revised the scales of pay, it cannot be treated as anything different for fixing the date of its implementation from what transpires in respect of personnel for whom Second Pay Commission scales of pay have been made applicable with effect from 1st July, 1959. No valid ground is stated in arbitrarily fixing them as effective from 1st April, 1966/1st May, 1967.
6. In dealing with the applicability of Art. 14 of the Constitution, learned Judge had stated that, even in the impugned order, Central Government had stated that the respective duties are different. The impugned order dated 16th October, 1978 nowhere states that duties and responsibilities attached to these posts are not identical to those in the Central Excise Department. It was only in 1974, when representations were made it was stated in letter dated 21st May, 1974 that they are not identical. But, it is on record that only on securing the report of the S.R. Unit which had analysed the comparable duties and responsibilities as between them, Central Government had chosen to fix identical scales of pay for corresponding personnel in the Salt Department. The only thing that had happened is that, they were made effective from 1st April, 1966/1st May, 1967, and not from 1st July, 1959. Once the parity is thus made out on a comparative analysis made, a bald claim made for the purpose of rejecting the claim that the duties and responsibilities of Inspectors/Deputy Superintendents of Salt are not identical to those in Excise Department cannot be any longer countenanced.
7. In Purshottam Lal v. Union of India 1973-I L.L.J. 407, on an identical situation developed consequent to the Second Pay Commissioner's Report relating to the personnel in forest Research Institute and Colleges, Dehra Dun, it was held that, if the Government had made a reference in respect to certain categories of its employees to the Pay Commission and accepted the recommendations, then it is duty bound to apply the same to similar personnel irrespective of the report not specifically dealing with them. Hence, the subsequent revision carried out by Government on its own, was made effective from 1st July, 1959. This decision squarely applies to the facts and circumstances of this case as well. Hence, by refusing to treat identically placed persons equal, Art. 14 of the Constitution is violated, in ordering that the revised scales of pay would not be applicable on and from 1st July, 1959.
8. The other point which found acceptance by the learned Judge was that, in the absence of recommendations by the Pay Commission, persons like that of the appellant cannot claim parity with those scales of pay revised by the Pay Commission. This is also an aspect which has been already dealt with in the decision referred to above.
9. In S. Jayaraman v. State of Tamil Nadu (W.P. No. 4229 of 1984 - Order dated 7th November, 1984), a Division Bench of this Court held that Pay Commission is not a statutory body and Government is not bound to consider all its recommendations and that the Government is the only authority to fix scales of pay. Hence, whether the Pay Commission makes a recommendation or not, once the Government finds that identical duties and responsibilities obtain between two categories of posts, then it is duty bound to fix the same scale of pay irrespective of the Department where they are working. The fundamental principle of 'equal pay for equal work' enunciated in Arts. 14, 16 and 39(d) of the Constitution of India had been expounded in Randhir Singh v. Union of India 1982-I L.L.J. 344, to hold that persons holding posts with similar duties and responsibilities should not be treated differently in the matter of their pay, merely because they belong to different departments.
10. In the instant case, similarity pleaded is no longer disputable after the report of the S.R. Unit and after fixing identical scales of pay. One and only disparity now existing relates to the date from which they are to be implemented when first revised it was made effective not from the date of order, but from 1st July, 1959, though it was decided long thereafter. It is only when once again they were revised, the same date is not adopted, but date of order is relied upon. Hence, following the decision of the Supreme Court in Purshottam Lal v. Union of India (supra), this writ appeal is allowed, and the order of the learned single Judge in W.P. No. 5017 of 1978 is set aside, and the appellant is granted the relief as prayed for by him in the writ petition. The amounts due and payable to him are to be computed and shall be paid on or before 30th June, 1985. The appellant is entitled to costs. Counsel fee Rs. 500/-