STATE OF PUNJAB Vs. KULDIP SINGH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
STATE OF PUNJAB
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D. P. Mohapatra, J. -
(1.)Leave is granted.
(2.)This appeal filed by the State of Punjab, through the Secretary in the P.W.D. (B and R) Mini Secretariat and the Chief Engineer, P.W.D. (B and R) Branch, is directed against the judgment/order dated 25-3-1998 of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana allowing Civil Writ Petition No. 15263 of 1997 filed by the respondents herein. The controversy raised in the case relates to the date from which the respondents are entitled to get Selection Grade Pay as Sub-Divisional Engineers in the Public Works Department of the State; whether it is with effect from 1-1-1978 when Shri Devender Singh Sekhon, a Sub-Divisional Engineer junior to them got the Selection Grade Pay or from the date when the respondents completed 15 years of service in the cadre. In the judgment under challenge the High Court took the view that since Shri A. S. Mann and Shri Devender Singh Sekhon who are juniors to the respondents were granted Selection Grade Pay from 1st January, 1978 the respondents being senior to them and if they are within the 20% posts of the cadre of Sub-Divisional Engineers then there was no reason why they should not be granted Selection Grade Pay with effect from that date. Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petition and directed the appellants that if the respondents fulfilled the aforementioned conditions then they should be given the Selection Grade Pay with effect from the date their juniors were given such grade and arrears should be released as was done in the case of Shri Devender Singh Sekhon. From the discussions in the judgment/order it appears that the High Court based its judgment on the principle that when a junior in the cadre is given a higher scale of pay a person senior to him could not draw lesser pay unless a higher scale of pay was made personal to the junior officer by order.
(3.)The factual matrix of the case, so far as relevant for the purpose of this proceedings may be stated thus: Shri Kuldip Singh, respondent No. 1 herein, and Shri Devender Singh Sekhon were directly appointed as Sub-Divisional Engineers in the Public Works Department of the State of Punjab. While Shri Kuldip Singh joined the post on 11th November, 1970 and Shri Teekam Chander Bali on 17th November, 1970, Shri Devender Singh Sekhon joined the post on 18th November, 1970. Another officer Shri A. S. Mann, who had been appointed as Junior Engineer on 28th April, 1956 was promoted as Sub-Divisional Engineer with effect from 22nd December, 1971. Shri A. S. Mann filed a suit claiming Selection Grade Pay with effect from 1-1-1978 on the ground that persons junior to him had already been granted such grade. The suit was decreed on 24th September, 1985. The appeal preferred by the State was dismissed. The Second Appeal preferred by the State was also dismissed on 22nd September, 1986. Thereafter the Selection Grade Pay was released in favour of Shri A. S. Mann on 21st April, 1989.
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