Decided on April 12,1990

UNION OF INDIA Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



K. Jagannatha Shetty, J. - (1.)The Staff Artists of Doordarshan are again before this Court. This Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution has been filed by the Union representing the members of the staff working in the Camera Section of the Doordarshan Kendra. The Camera Section is said to consist of a number of posts including Cameramen Grade II and Lighting Assistants working in various Doordarshan Kendras in the Country. Earlier there were three writ petitions from three categories of Staff Artists of Doordarshan. Writ Petition (C) No. 974 of 1978 was filed by Sound Recordists. Writ Petition (C) No. 1239 of 1979 was by Cameramen Grade II and Writ Petition (C) No. 1756 of 1986 was by the Lighting Assistants / Lightmen. The Sound Recordists of Doordarshan claimed the pay scale admissible to the Recordists of the Films Division. Cameramen Grade II demanded pay scale allowed to Cameramen of the Films Division. The Lighting Assistants / Lightmen claimed the pay scale entitled to the Assistant Cameramen in the Films Division. They contended that they were performing same or similar duties as their counterparts in the Films Division.
(2.)The said writ petitions were disposed of by the common order dated August 26, 1986. There this Court held:(i) that the Staff Artists of Doordarshan including the petitioners therein are Govt. Servants like their counterparts in the Films Division, (ii) they performed the same duties as those of their counterparts in the Films Division; (iii) the Sound Recordists in Doordarshan are equivalents to Recordists in the Films Division; (iv) the Cameramen Grade II in Doordarshan are similar to Cameramen in Films Division; and (v) the Lighting Assistants / Lightmen in Doordarshan are comparable with Assistant Cameramen in Films Division.
(3.)It was further observed that it would be unreasonable and unjust to discriminate the said Artists of the Doordarshan in the matter of pay scale. The conclusion was rounded off in the following terms:
"In the circumstances, all these writ petitions are allowed. The Sound Recordists, who are the petitioners in Writ Petition (C) No. 974 of 1978, shall be given the pay-scale of the Recordist / Sound Recordist in the Films Division i.e. Rs. 550-900 with effect from January 1, 1978. The Cameramen Grade II, who are the petitioners in Writ Petition (C) No. 1239 of 1979, shall be given the pay scale of the Cameramen of the Films Division i.e. Rs. 650-960 with effect from August 1, 1979. The Lighting Assistants/ Lightmen, who are the petitioners in Writ Petition (C) No. 1756 of 1986, shall be given the scale of pay of Assistant Cameramen in the Films Division i.e. Rs. 425-700 with effect from December 1, 1983. The petitioners in all these writ petitions will also be entitled to the substituted scales of pay and consequential benefits. The respondents are directed to disburse to the petitioners the arrear amounts being the difference in the pay scales within four months from today."
As per the said decision, those who filed the writ petitions were given the pay scale of their counterparts with the arrears as indicated from the respective dates. But other persons who claim that they also belong to the same categories or similarly situated have not been extended the benefit of the decision. The persons who have been denied of such benefits moved the Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the authorities. The Contempt Petition No. 811 of 1989 was filed. On that application, the Court remarked:
"The petitioners may file a fresh Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution before this Court after serving a copy on the Central Agency. It shall be posted along with this Contempt Petition. The matter is adjourned by three weeks."
Accordingly, the present writ petition has been preferred seeking the reliefs:
"(a) to treat Lighting Assistants, Cameramen Grade II and Sound Recordists as regular Government Servants w.e.f. the date of their joining the Doordarshan Departments; (b) to remove the disparity in the scales of pay of Lighting Assistants of Doordarshan vis-a-vis Assistant Cameramen of Films Division, Cameramen Grade II of Doordarshan vis-a-vis Cameramen of Films Division and Sound Recordists of Doordarshan vis-a-vis Recordists of Films Division w.e.f. 1-1-1973 and in the case of those Lighting / Assistants or Cameramen Grade II or Sound Recordists of Doordarshan who joined the Doordarshan Department on any subsequent date other than 1-1-1973 then the disparity is to be removed from the respective dates of their appointment; (c) to extend all the other benefits to the Lighting Assistants, Cameramen Grade II and Sound Recordists of Doordarshan as are available to the Assistant Cameramen, Cameramen and Recordists of Films Division."
The respondent in the counter-affidavit raises contentions in the alternative; firstly, it is inter alia alleged:
"that the benefit of order dated 26-8-88 need not be extended to all persons suo motu who were not petitioners in the Writ Petitions in question. However, Government is prepared to extend the benefit to such of those persons who were in position on the dates of filing of the writ petitions by holders of three categories of posts or alternatively to such of them who possessed at the time of appointment in the said posts in Doordarshan qualifications prescribed for comparable posts of Asstt. Cameramen / Cameramen an Recordists in Films Division."
Secondly, the correctness of the previous decision of this Court is also sought to be challenged by these words:
"It is submitted that the pay scales, designation and qualifications of Cameramen working in Films Division is different from those working in Doordarshan. The working condition is also quite different. The Cameramen in Films Division are exclusively functioning in outdoor recordings with film cameras whereas those working in Doordarshan normally function in studios and in case of their outdoor recordings they use E.N.G. equipment. It is submitted that the cadre structure of the two organisations is also different in view of the organisational requirement.
It is submitted that the pay scales are also related to the promotional avenues normally higher pay scale is expected to compensate for limited promotional avenue." A similar contention is raised with regard to Lighting Assistant of Doordarshan vis-a-vis, Assistant Cameramen in Films Division:
"The job of Lighting Assistants in Doordarshan is limited to the holding light lamp on the object under directions of the cameraman in outdoor shootings alone. All other related functions including complete light arrangements in the studio in Doordarshan are performed by Sr. Engineering Assistants / Engineering Assistants, Technicians and Helpers. In view of the above and with the introduction of ENG cameras the existing role of Lighting Assistants has come down to that of an unskilled labourers. Consequently, posts of Lighting Assistants in Doordarshan were abolished in July 1986 and. their job entrusted to Helpers who are Group 'D' employees having Vth standards qualifications."
As to Cameramen Grade II, Doordarshan / Cameramen, Films Division, it is stated:
"ENG Cameras now being used in Doordarshan have been provided with the facilities of zoom lanse auto focus play back facility to see instant results etc. It is very simple in operation and functions on the principle of Video Cameras used commonly by photographers in the street for covering the marriage parties etc.....
It being a matter of fact needs no explanation that in Films Division a Cameraman is required to have thorough knowledge and indepth experience of Camera and various types of lenses and films before being allowed to handle a film camera which is more complicated to use by way of selection of appropriate lense filters and light intensity, delicate handling of films besides exact perception of the object as running of any film for a longer duration or without proper light, lense and focus would not only involve avoidable heavy additional expenditure but may also not give the desired results. Evidently, a cameraman Gr. II handling ENG camera in Doordarshan is not performing the same work as is being done by his counterpart on a complicated film camera in the Films Division. Least to talk of equality, many of Cameramen Gr. II in Doordarshan due to lack of experience and qualifications may not be able to handle even today film camera being used in Films Division." As to Sound Recordists, Doordarshan / Recordists in Films Division, it is claimed:
"The induction of ENG in Doordarshan has equally affected the functioning of Sound Recordist by making his job much easier in as much as that audio recording in an ENG Camera is done simultaneously with shooting of the programme. It does not require any more separate dubbing or post synchronising etc. being done by Recordists in Films Division. This necessitated in declaring the Sound Recordists as dying cadre in Doordarshan and their job is now being done by Engineering Staff who have their own line of promotion in their grade."


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