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DTC Security Staff Union (Regd.) Vs. DTC and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (11 May 2018)

Merely because pay-scale may have been and remained the same, it cannot lead to conclusion of a conscious parity on principle of equal pay for equal work


Labour and Industrial

The Appellant sought a Reference on 24th October, 1979, under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 with regard to revision of pay-scale of Security Staff up to the rank of Assistant Security Inspector, in the Delhi Transport Corporation ('the Corporation'). The Industrial Tribunal, by Award held that, Assistant Security Officer, Security Havaldar and Security Guard in the services of the Corporation were entitled to the pay-scale of Rs. 425-700, Rs. 260-350 and Rs. 225-308 respectively, with effect from 1st October, 1979, at par with their counterparts in the Delhi Police Force. The Corporation challenged the Award unsuccessfully before the Single Judge. The Division Bench set aside the Award, and which is presently assailed.

The Appellant, submitted that, the Tribunal granted parity in pay-scale with the Delhi police based on consideration of material evidence with regard to similarity in nature of duties, existing parity for the post of Deputy Security Officer and Security Officer with that in the Delhi Police, the next below post principle in the Corporation itself, and the pay-scale available to similarly situated security staff in the Food Corporation of India, the Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., etc. In absence of any infirmity in the decision-making process by the Tribunal, the Division Bench erred in exercising appellate jurisdiction over the Award.

The principles and the nature of the jurisdiction exercised under Article 226 of the Constitution of India with regard to matters concerning pay-scale, including equal pay for equal work, are fundamentally different from the adjudication of the same by an Industrial Tribunal under the Act. The primary purpose of industrial adjudication is to ensure social justice, secure peace and harmony between the employer and workmen and to ensure full cooperation between them. The Tribunal for the purpose can confer rights and privileges which it considers reasonable and proper and essential for keeping industrial peace.

There is no material to hold that, pay-scale of Deputy Security Officer and Security Officer in the Corporation was consciously kept at par with that of the Delhi Police keeping in mind aspects with regard to the qualifications, nature of duties, etc. Merely because the pay-scale may have been and remained the same, it cannot lead to the conclusion of a conscious parity on the principle of equal pay for equal work so as to make it discriminatory and a ground for grant of parity to Assistant Security Officer, Security Havaldar and Security Guard also. The Tribunal ought to have refrained from going into the exercise of fixation of pay-scales no sooner that it was brought to its attention that a Commission constituted for the purpose was examining the same. Though the Tribunal examined the pay scales given to similarly situated security personnel in other organisations, and also the next below post principle in the Corporation itself, ignoring the difference in the methods of recruitment and qualifications for appointment in the two organisations, it primarily based its conclusion to grant parity of pay-scale to Assistant Security Officer, Security Havaldar and Security Guard merely for the reason that parity of pay-scale existed for the posts of Deputy Security Officer and Security Officer with that of the Delhi Police.

It is not in dispute that, the pay-scale of the employees of the Corporation, including the security cadre, have been revised from time to time in accordance with the recommendations of 4th, 5th, 6th Pay-Commission and now the 7th Pay-Commission. There is no material on record that, the Appellant at any time filed any objection or raised issues for grant of appropriate pay-scale either before the 4th Pay-Commission or the successive Commissions. If the award of the Tribunal is to be implemented today, it will create a highly anomalous position in the Corporation, and shall lead to serious complications with regard to the issues of pay-scale vis-à-vis recommendations of the Pay-Commission and would generate further heartburn and related problems vis-à-vis other employees of the Corporation. There is no reason to interfere with the order of the Division Bench. The appeal is dismissed.


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