Decided on July 20,1973

Gopal Krishna Mehra Respondents


B.N. Sarma, J. - (1.) THIS is an appeal by the defendant against the decree of the learned Assistant District Judge No. 2 at Gauhati decreeing in Part the plaintiff's suit.
(2.) THE plaintiff Sri Gopal Krishna Mehra, who retired from his service under the Government of Assam as Director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry on 31 -3 -1963, filed the suit for the following reliefs: - (a) a decree declaring that the plaintiff is entitled to the whole of the amount of increment as due under the revised scales of pay which came into force with effect from 1 -10 -1956 till 31 -3 -1963, that is the date of retirement of the plaintiff, (b) a decree declaring the order contained in letter. No. VET 129/62/25 dated 20 -4 -65 as illegal and inoperative, and (3) consequential relief of the amount of Rs. 26,437.50 p. being the total increments from 1 -10 -1956 till 31 -3 -1963. The plaintiff's case in brief was that he was appointed as the Principal of the Veterinary College at Gauhati on contract basis with effect from 29 -9 -1948 in the scale of Rs. 800 -50 -1000/ -. He was also allowed to hold charge of the Post of Director of Veterinary with effect from 11 -11 -1949 but without any extra remuneration. He was afterwards appointed as Director of Veterinary with effect from 11 -11 -1950 in the scale of Rs. 800 -50 -1000/ - and was placed on probation for one year and then confirmed in the post with effect from 26 -9 -1962. The plaintiff reached the maximum of his scale, that is. Rs. 1000/ - per month in November, 1952. The plaintiff was placed under suspension on some charges with effect from 24 -4 -1956 and he remained on suspension till 11 -3 -1961. During this period some criminal cases as well as departmental proceedings were instituted against him. As those cases and departmental proceedings ended in his favour the plaintiff was reinstated in service with effect from 12 -3 -1961 and ultimately he retired from service on superannuation with effect from 31 -3 -1963, while he was drawing the maximum in the scale of Rs. 800 -50 -1000/ -. During the period from 1956 to 1962 the pay scales of the employees of the Government of Assam were thrice revised - once in 1956, once in 1959 and again in 1962. According to the revision in 1956 the scale of pay of the Director of Veterinary was fixed at Rs. 800 -50 -1100 -E B. -50 -1150. According to the revised scales of 1959 the ordinary scale of pay for the Director of Veterinary remained the same that is Rs. 800 -1150/ - but it created a separate scale of Rs. 1000 -60 -1300 -E. B -50 -1500/ - for persons with merit and extra qualifications. In the revision of 1962 the Department of Veterinary was upgraded to a major department and the scale for the Director was fixed at Rs. 1000 -1500/ -. The revised scale of 1956 was given effect to from 1 -10 -1956. vide Government Notification dated 26 -l2 -1956. subject to exercise of option by the employees concerned within six months from the date of the notification. The revised scales of 1959 were given effect to from 1 -4 -1959, vide Government notification dated 21 -11 -1959 and those of 1962 were given effect to, from 1 -10 -1962. vide Government notification dated 10 -1 -1963. There was no question of any option of the employees so far as these two scales were concerned. It may be mentioned here that after reinstatement of the plaintiff in service on 12 -3 -1961 the Government decided and informed the plaintiff that his period of suspension would be counted towards leave, pension and increment. As regards his pay during the period of suspension, it was decided by the Government that he would set three -fourths of his pay and allowances during that period to be adjusted against the subsistence allowance already drawn by him. In spite of the Government order that the period of suspension would be counted towards increment etc. the Government did not allow him the benefits of the aforesaid revised scales. The plaintiff moved the Government to give him the benefits of those scales, to which he was legally entitled, but the Government by its letter No. VET 129/62/25 dated 20 -4 -1965 refused to give him the benefits of those scales. The plaintiff accordingly filed the present suit for the reliefs as mentioned above.
(3.) THE defendant (State of Assam) filed a written statement and contested the suit. Most of the facts alleged in the plaint were admitted by the defendant According to the defendant, the revised scale of 1956 could not be given to the plaintiff as he failed to exercise his option within the prescribed period as required under paragraph 4 (1) of the Government resolution No. FEP 3/56/27 dated 26 -12 -1956. The revised scales of 1959 and 1962 could not be given to the plaintiff as he did not merit and qualify for the said scales. The defendant further alleged that the plaintiff being under, suspension from 1956 to 1961 and thus away from actual duties, was debarred from enjoying the benefits of 1959 scale as the Government did not set any opportunity to test his merit and as he did not possess the required Qualification. The suit was also resisted on various other grounds, which save rise to the following issues: - 1. Whether there is any cause of action for the suit? 2. Whether the suit is maintainable? 3. Whether proper Court -fee for declaration has been paid? 4. Whether the plaintiff was entitled to the revised pay scales of 1956, 1959 and 1962 and increments thereunder, as alleged ?;

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