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    Civil Appeal No.1207 of 1992
    Decided On, 10 February 1994
    At, High Court of Delhi
    For the Appearing Parties: Amrita Sanghi, E.X.Joseph, M.K.Singh, Madan Lokur, Mukul Rohatagi, Advocates.

Judgment Text

( 1 ) SHRI C. L. Sharma, one of the Assistants and Shri Vikramjit, one of the Junior Readers, on the establishment of this Court, have sought an appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus directing the respondents to upgrade their posts to the pay-scale of Rs. 2000-3200 on parity with the pay-scale already granted to Senior Stenographers. They have averred in the petition that under the Delhi High Court Establishment (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1972, framed under Article 229 of the Constitution of India, the posts in categories (9) Assistant, (10) Senior Translator and Proof Reader, (11) Junior Reader, (13) P. A. to Registrar and (14) Senior Stenographer in the Schedule to the Delhi High Court Officers and Servants (Salaries, Leave, Allowances and Pension) Rules and also under the Delhi High Court Staff (Seniority) Rules, 1971, are equal status posts and according to Rule 8 (c) of the Delhi High Court Establishment (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1972, the persons appointed to these posts are interchangeable and they are also the feeder posts for promotion to the posts of Superintendent, Court Master and thus, all these posts must have same pay-scale. It is pointed out that when initially the said Rules were framed equal pay-scales were prescribed for these categories of posts treating them as equal status posts. Senior Stenographers have been given basic pay-scale of Rs. 2000-3200 with effect from January 1, 1986, on the basis of a judgment of this Court given in Civil Writ Petition No. 3197/89 decided on October 8, 1991. Hence, the prayer is made that the petitioners should be also granted the same pay-scale as has now become available to the Senior Stenographers on the basis of the judgment of this Court.

( 2 ) UNION of India has contested this petition and has opposed the grant of same pay-scale to these petitioners pleading that duties and functions assigned to the Senior Stenographers are quite different from the duties and functions performed by the Assistants and Junior Readers of this Court. It is urged that an Assistant or a Junior Reader cannot possibly be posted as Senior Stenographer because of his lack of knowledge of shorthand and similarly Senior Stenographers may not be equipped to perform the duties of an Assistant or a Junior Reader. It is averred that it is only for the administrative convenience that a common seniority of these categories of posts is being maintained by the Court for the purposes of promotion to the higher post but that alone would not make these posts as equal status posts or similar posts having the samc type of duties and functions and so. it is urged that the basic principle of "equal pay for equal work" enunciated by the Supreme Court in various judgments is not applicable to the present case. The matter is not res integra.

( 3 ) IN Civil Writ Petition No. 190/85,s. S. Bhatia Vs Union of India, decided on December 10,1986, the Senior Stenographers had claimed parity of pay-scale with the pay-scale being enjoyed by Assistants and Senior Translators of this Court. It appears that the Assistants and Senior Translators on the basis of the judgment of this Court given in Civil Writ Petition No. 462/k3 decided on December 9, 1986 and Civil Writ Petition No. 662/82 decided on April 12, 1983, had been allowed higher pay-scales. The Senior Stenographers claimed that they are having equal status posts with the-posts of Assistants and Senior Translators and their posts being inter-changeable and thus, they are also entitled to have same pay-scale, as originally before those writs were decided, all these posts of same categories were having similar pay-scale. The Court upheld the contentions of the Senior Stenographers and directed that Senior Stenographers should be placed in the same pay-scale as being available to the Assistants and Senior Translators. The contention of the Union of India raised in that case that these posts are not having similar functions and duties was not accepted.

( 4 ) ASSISTANT, Junior Reader and Care-Taker on the Establishment of this High Court had brought another Writ Petition No. 976/87 in which again it was pleaded that Junior Reader, Assistant, Senior Translator and Senior Stenographer hold equal status posts as per the High Court Rules applicable to these posts and as the Senior Stenographers have been awarded higher pay-scale of Rs-550-900 with effect from July 4, 1978, by a judgment of this Court in Civil Writ Petition No. 2825/ 81 decided on May 28, 1982, their pay-scales are also liable to be put at par with the pay-scales of Senior Stenographers and this writ petition was allowed and it was made clear in the order that the relief granted in this writ petition will not only be granted to the petitioners in the writ petition but also would stand granted to all persons falling under the same category. These judgments settled the legal position as far as these categories of posts are concerned which are termed as 'equal status posts' under the various rules of the High Court applicable to these posts.

( 5 ) THE learned counsel for the Union of India Mr. Lokur, however, has referred to two judgments of the Supreme Court, State of Madhya Pradesh Vs Pramod Bhartiya and Others, JT 1992 (5) SC 683 and State of West Bengal and Others Vs Madan Mohan Sen and Others, JT 1993 (4) SC 48. The parity of pay-scale was sought in the case of Pramod Bhartiy a (supra) by the non-technical lecturers in Technical Schools with lecturers in Higher Secondary Schools on the basis of similar qualifications and service conditions and status of the schools. The Supreme Court found that no material has been brought on the record to show that the functions and responsibilities of both the categories of lecturers are similar. This judgment is distinguishable because there were no facts asserted in that case that the rules applicable to the said posts make the two sets of posts as equal status posts.

( 6 ) IN the case of Madan Mohan Sen (supra), the parity of pay-scale was sought by persons holding posts of Agragamies who were not specialised as were the Firemen. It was held by the Supreme Court that there is bound to be difference in the quality of fire-fighting job of both of them. Firemen and the Leaders are a specialised fire-fighting force while the Agragamies are so to speak 'jack of all trades' having been given only elementary training in various fields and when called upon they sometime assist fire-fighting personnel. On facts it was found that the said two posts were not having similar duties and functions, so no parity of pay-scale could be enforced. Again it was not a case where the two sets of posts were treated as equal status posts under the rules governing them.

( 7 ) RATHER the Supreme Court judgment given in the case of S. B. Muthur and Others Vs Hon 'ble the Chief justice of Delhi High Court and Others, AIR 1988 SC 2073, deals with the same Rules. The law laid down by the Supreme Court is as follows:-

"there is, therefore, nothing inherently wrong in an employer treating certain posts as equated posts or equal status posts provided that, in doing so, he exercises his discretion reasonably and does not violate the principles of equality enshrined in Articles 14 and. 16 of the Constitution. For treating certain posts as equated posts or equal status posts, it is not necessary that the holders of these posts must perform completely the same functions or that the sources of recruitment to the posts must be the same nor is it essential that qualifications for appointment to the posts must be identical. All that is reasonably required is that there' must not be such difference in the pay scales or qualifications of the incumbents of the posts concerned or in their duties or responsibilities or regarding any other relevant factor that it would be unjust to treat the posts alike or, in other words, that posts having substantially higher pay scales or status in service or carrying substantially heavier responsibilities and duties or otherwise distinctly superior are not equated with posts carrying much lower pay scales or substanti

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ally lower responsibilities and duties or enjoying much lower status inservice. " In the said case the posts of Superintendents, Private Secretaries and Court Masters have been treated as equal status posts and the parity of pay-scales was granted on that basis. This judgment applies to the facts of the present case in all respects. ( 8 ) IN view of the above discussion, we hold that not only the petitioners but the incumbents holding the posts in the categories (9) Assistant, (10) Senior Translator and Proof Reader, and (11) Junior Reader are entitled to have same pay-scale as is available to the Senior Stenographers. ( 9 ) WE allow the writ petition, make the rule absolute and direct the respondents to immediately grant the pay-scale of Rs-2000-3200 to the abovesaid posts with effect from January 1, 1986. The parties are, however, left to bear their own costs.