Violation of Articles 14 and 16 on grant of higher pay scale based on years of service and not seniority: Punjab High Court.

The Punjab High Court, in State of Punjab and others v/s Dr. Ranjit Singh and others (LPA-1423-2018),delivered on 15th March 2023, held that grant of higher pay scale on basis of years of service and not seniority is violative of articles 14 and 16. The judgement was presided by Honourable Mr. Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Honourable Mrs. Justice Sukhvinder Kaur.


In the Administrative Wing of the Department of Agriculture, the respondents were working as agriculture officers. Different pay scales were allocated to the respondents on completion of years of service and they contended that the pay scales cannot be fixed differently in the same post on the basis of length of service. The time period was 8 and later 18 years for the cadre prior to 1986. In Sarvjit Singh and others v/s State of Punjab, in 1992, junior getting a higher pay scale was challenged. The Court here had held that there was no rationale behind a junior agriculture officer getting a higher pay scale than the senior.


The Court laid a reference to the judgement passed in Sarvjit Singh and others v/s State of Punjab and the Supreme Court’s decision in this regard. The Court also laid a refernce to Dr. Naresh Kumar Kataria and others wherein it was held that a senior cannot be denied the same pay scale offered to a junior on the grounds on being longer in service. Thereby, the division bench dismissed the case.


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