Decided on April 12,2022

Jayanta Nandi Appellant


S.G.CHATTOPADHYAY,J. - (1.)The present writ appeal arises out of the judgment and order dtd. 8/12/2021 passed by the learned Single Judge in W. P(C) No. 210 of 2018 directing the State-respondents to provide to the appellant the minimum basic pay and allowances of driver following the principle of equal pay for equal work.
(2.)The factual background of the case is as under:
The appellant was temporarily appointed in Group-D under the Rural Development Department in erstwhile North Tripura District in the pay scale of Rs.775.0015-790-16-950-20-1130/- plus other admissible allowances by an order issued on 24/5/1996 (Annexure-1 to the writ petition). Though he was appointed in Group-D, the department actually utilised his services as a driver since he was skilled in driving and he possessed a valid driving licence. Since the post of driver is a promotional post and it carries higher scale of pay, the appellant filed several representations to the competent authority in his department claiming promotion to the post of driver. The appellant pleaded that Tripura Government Vehicles Drivers Services Rules, 1979 under Rule 10(b) provide that 30% of the vacancies in the post of driver would be filled up by promotion from regular Group-D employees possessing a valid driving licence. It has been provided that for promotion to the post of driver from Group-D, transport department will conduct practical tests and interview to assess the suitability of the concerned candidate to drive a Government Vehicle and recommend the names to the department for filling up the promotional posts of drivers. The appellant claimed in the writ petition that he had been working as a driver since his appointment in Group-D on 24/5/1996. Several posts of driver in his department fell vacant since then. But the department did not consider his successive representations to provide him the pay scale admissible to drivers by appointing him as a driver on promotion. It was pleaded by the appellant that in the year 2015, when some vacancies arose in his department in the post of driver and his name was forwarded to the transport department for conducting practical tests for his selection and appointment as a driver. Practical test was also conducted. But he was never informed about the result of of such initiative. He, therefore, approached this Court by filing W.P(C) No. 210 of 2018 seeking the following reliefs:

"(1) Issue Rule asking the respondents to show cause as to why, in the circumstances stated in this writ petition, they should not be directed to regularize/promote the petitioner to the post of a Driver in the appropriate scale from the date sine when his service is continuously taken as a motor vehicle driver and thereafter, pay all the consequential financial and other benefits to him;

(2) After hearing the parties and being satisfied make the Rule in terms of Para (1) above absolute:

(3) Pass any other order/orders as may be deemed fit and proper for ends of justice."

(3.)In their counter affidavit, the State-respondents asserted before the learned Single Judge that even though the appellant-petitioner was initially appointed as a Peon by issuing the appointment order dtd. 24/5/1006, the appellant-petitioner having knowledge of driving his services were utilised as a driver instead of utilising his services as a Peon. Therefore, the appellant-petitioner through representation claimed promotion to the post of driver in terms of Tripura Government Vehicles Drivers Services Rules, 1979 (hereinunder referred to as 'the TGVDS Rules, 1979') whereunder 30% of the vacancies were reserved for regular Group-D employees. The respondent also asserted that the appellant petitioner was arrested by police on the charge of fraud and departmental proceedings were also drawn up against him by his disciplinary authority. During pendency of the departmental proceedings he was placed under suspension. It was pleaded by the respondents in their counter affidavit that after the departmental inquiry against him was over, name of the petitioner was forwarded to the transport department for conducting practical test in driving with a view to consider his candidature for promotion to the post of driver in terms of the TGVDS Rules, 1979. It was further pleaded by the respondents that the appellant cannot claim promotion to the post of driver as a matter of right.

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