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Equal pay for all employees of the same level: Patna High Court.

All employees who are in a similar level of authority are entitled to receive the same pay scale. This is done in order to avoid discrimination between employees of the same set. This was decreed by the Honorable Mr. Justice Mohit Kumar Shah, in the case of Alok Ranjan and Ors. Vs. The state of Bihar through the Director (Secondary Education) Govt. of Bihar, Patna and Ors. [Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 188 of 2021] on the 09th of July 2021 before the Hon’ble High Court at Patna.

The brief facts of the case are, the petitioners were granted appointment on compassionate ground on the post of Lower Division Clerk, after recommendations were made by the District Compassionate Committee after recommendations were made by the District Compassionate Committee vide orders dated 02.12.2014, 04.09.2015 and 31.03.2017, respectively. The appointment orders of the petitioners were then issued vide letters dated 15.12.2014, 08.09.2015 and 24.04.2017, respectively. Their pay scale was revised. The replacement scale of the pay band of Rs. 3050-4590 is Rs. 5200-20200 whereas the replacement scale of pay band of Rs. 4000-6000, though is also the same but the grade pay is higher, hence the petitioners are suffering continuing loss. The present writ petition has been filed by the petitioners for directing the respondent authorities to pay salary in the revised pay scale i.e., Rs. 4000- 6000/- in place of the basic pay scale of Rs. 3050- 4500/-.

The counsel for the petitioners has submitted that the petitioners are undergoing losses and thus, the pay scale must be revised. However, the counsel for the respondents submitted that, that the cut-off date for the purposes of grant of pay scale of Rs. 4000-6000 was/is 20.12.2000, as is apparent from the Finance Department, Government of Bihar letter No. 8825 dated 20.12.2000 and since the petitioners have been appointed after the cut-off date, they are not eligible for grant of the pay scale of Rs. 4000-6000 and in fact, they are entitled to the basic pay sale of Rs. 3050-4590/-. It is thus submitted that the present writ petition is fit to be dismissed.

After judge analyzed the facts of this case in reference to Radha Shyam & Ors. Vs. The State of Bihar & Ors. (CWJC No. 4065 of 2020), wherein it was held that, “Even if for the sake of argument, it may be assumed that the petitioners and the employees, who were petitioners in CWJC No. 13577 of 2006 form two different categories, there is no justification in the matter of discrimination between the present petitioners and the retrenched employees who were working in the non-formal education scheme. It is clear that the non-formal education scheme came to an end and large number of Class-III and Class-IV employees was retrenched and thereafter in the year 2005 and 2006 as is evident from Annexures 4 and 5, they were re-appointed as a fresh appointee in the year 2005 and 2006, that is much after 20th December, 2000 and in their case, they have been granted the higher pay scale of Rs. 4000/- – Rs. 6000/-. If that be so, there is a discrimination in the matter of granting similar benefit to the petitioners when more than 300 employees have been granted such benefit of higher pay scale in the grade of Rs. 4000/- – Rs. 6000/- even after they were appointed in the year 2005 and 2006, there is no reason as to why similar benefits should be denied to the petitioners when the petitioners are also doing similar work and were appointed after 20th December, 2000. To that effect, there is discrimination in the matter and the petitioners are entitled to equal treatment.”

Using this above-mentioned rationale, the court in the current case decreed that, “with a view to maintain judicial consistency since several orders have been passed in the cases of similarly situated employees, granting higher pay scale to them and further to avoid discrimination amongst the same set of employees. In such view of the matter, this Court is also persuaded to take the same view as has been taken in the aforesaid one dozen cases by the coordinate Benches of this Court as also by the learned Division Bench of this Court.” The petition was disposed of directing the respondents to increase the pay scale of the petitioners.

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