Bisheshwar Prasad Singh, J. -
(1.)These appeals by special leave have been preferred by the State Bank of India and are directed against the judgment and order of the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore dated 8th June, 1999 in Writ Appeal Nos. 2266-69 of 1999 whereby the appeals preferred by the appellant -Bank were dismissed and the order of the learned Single Judge upheld. By the impugned judgment the High Court held that the claim of officers under specialist cadre for grant of benefit of higher starting pay as was given to the Rural Development Officers, required consideration. The Court. therefore, directed the Bank to consider the matter keeping in view the duties and responsibilities of the writ petitioners (respondents herein) which were comparable with the duties and responsibilities of the Rural Development Officers (for short RDOs).
(2.)A few facts which are not in dispute may be noticed.
(3.)In the State Bank of India Officers are classified and categorized under four graders - the Top Executive Grade, the Senior Management Grade, the Middle Management Grade and the Junior Management Grade. In the instant case we are concerned with the officers who belong to the Junior Management Grade. This grade consists of Probationary Officers, Trainee officers and other officers who are technical persons or specialists such as Assistant Law Officer, Security Officer, Assistant Engineer, Technical Officer, Medical Officer and Rural Development Officer (herein referred to as RDOs). The officers of the Bank, who generally look after the Banking business have been described as generalist officers whereas the others have been described as specialist officers who advise and undertake the work of the Bank in their respective field of specialization. There are therefore, generalist officers on the one hand and specialist officers on the other. Before the year 1979 all the officers, generalist as well as specialist, were entitled to the pay-scale prescribed for the junior Management Grade, but apart from the pay -scale which was common, they were also entitled to the same benefit of higher starting salary by grant of advance increments. It is not disputed that they were all entitled to advance increments on appointment, so that their initial starting pay was fixed at a stage higher than the starting pay in the prescribed scale. It was stated at the Bar that all the officers were granted 4 increments when they initially joined the post on appointment.