28 Apr 2121

Benefits flowing from assured career progression scheme & modified assured career progression scheme are incentives and are not part of pay - Supreme Court of India

Case : Union of India v. R. K. Sharma & Ors. Civil Appeal No. 1579 of 2021 (@ SLP (C) No.15572 of 2019)

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Vineet Saran

Decided on : 28 Apr 2121

Relevant Statutes

Article 133 of The Constitution of India

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1The Respondent was appointed as Deputy Director in the Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices in the Ministry of Industry, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion which was subsequently merged with Tariff Commission. He was promoted as Director by an order dated 09.02.1994.

2. Certain recommendations were made by the 5th Central Pay Commission relating to the Assured Career Progression Scheme (for short, ‘ACPS’) for Central Government civilian employees in all the Ministries/Departments along with conditions for grant of benefits under the ACPS. It was implemented in respect of Group ‘D’, ‘C’ and ‘B ’officers and those holding isolated posts in Group ‘A’.

3. By a resolution dated 29th August 2008, Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme (for short, ‘MACPS’) concerning civilian employees of the Central Government in Groups ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ and officers in the All India Services, Chairpersons, Members of the Regulatory Bodies (except the Reserve Bank of India) was accepted by the Central Government with respect to revised scales of pay and dearness allowances w.e.f. 01.01.2006. In so far as the revised allowances, other than the dearness allowance, the effective date according to the memorandum is 1st September 2008.

4. As the scheme was made applicable for officers of the organized group ‘A’ services w.e.f. 01.01.2006, the Respondent requested the Government to extend the benefit to him as well. He made two representations to the Government but get no response to the representations preferred by him seeking implementation of the MACPS w.e.f. 01.01.2006.

5. Therefore, Respondent filed O.A. in the Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi. The Tribunal dismissed the O.A. filed by the Respondent by its judgment. The Respondent challenged the judgment of the Tribunal before the High Court of Delhi by filing a Writ Petition. The High Court allowed the Writ Petition and directed the Appellants to grant the second financial upgradation to the Respondent under the MACPS w.e.f. 01.01.2006.

The Issue of the Case

Whether the Respondents are entitled to seek implementation of the benefits of MACPS w.e.f. 01.01.2006 according to the resolution dated 29.08.2008?

The Observations of the Court

1. The Honorable Court discussed the case Union of India & Ors. v. Balbir Singh Turn & Anr (2018) 11 SCC 99 and Union of India and Ors. v. M.V. Mohanan Nair (2020) 5 SCC 421 and pointed out that the benefits flowing from ACP & MACP Schemes are incentives and are not part of pay. The resolution dated 29.08.2008 is made effective from 01.09.2008 for implementation of allowances other than pay and dearness allowance which includes financial upgradation under ACP & MACP Schemes.

2. Moreover, the court observed that the implementation of MACPS by granting financial upgradation only to the next grade pay in the pay band and not granting pay of the next promotional post w.e.f. 01.01.2006 would be detrimental to a large number of employees, particularly those who have retired.

3. The Honorable Court find force in the submission made by the learned Additional Solicitor General that uniform implementation of MACPS for civilian employees w.e.f. 01.01.2006 would result in large scale recoveries of amounts paid in excess.

The Decision Held by the Court

1. The Honorable Court set aside the judgment of the High Court and allow five Appeals out of twenty-seven appeals and held the Respondents and other similarly situated officers not entitled to seek implementation of the benefits of MACPS w.e.f. 01.01.2006 according to the resolution dated 29.08.2008. The remaining appeals was listed for further hearing after summer vacation.

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