W.P.(C) Nos. 381, 382, 383/2006, 134 and 136/2007. Case: Shibajyoti Bhattacharjee and Ors. Vs The State of Tripura and Ors. Tripura High Court

Case NumberW.P.(C) Nos. 381, 382, 383/2006, 134 and 136/2007
Party NameShibajyoti Bhattacharjee and Ors. Vs The State of Tripura and Ors
CounselFor Appellant: Somik Deb, Advocate and For Respondents: B.C. Das, Advocate General, S. Chakraborty, Addl. G.A., N. Majumder and J. Majumder, Advocates
JudgesT. Vaiphei, C.J.
IssueConstitution of India - Articles 14, 16
Judgement DateJanuary 04, 2017
CourtTripura High Court

Judgment:

T. Vaiphei, C.J., (At Agartala)

1. This batch of five writ petitions involving a common of facts and of law were taken up together for joint hearing, and are now being disposed of by this common judgment.

2. At the outset, I wish to express my annoyance with the drafting of the writ petition, which runs into 50 pages, that too, without its annexures and of the additional counter affidavit filed by the petitioner, which is spanning 39 pages also without its annexures. Writ petition should be a concise statement of facts and of law, to the point, and yet comprehensive enough to cover all the facts relevant for the decision. It has be to be drafted carefully and after due application of mind. It should be written in such a manner that it can be easily understood by the reader; it is not enough that the writer understands what has drafted. I went through the voluminous writ petition simply because I could not leave out the important facts of the petitioners. It is distressing to note that the contents are repetitive and argumentative, which could have been reserved for oral submissions. One must understand that I am not dealing with the case of the petitioners alone and, therefore, have limited time to prepare the judgment for one case or a group of cases. I hope and trust that a litigant public shall hereafter make an endeavour to confine their pleadings only to the facts in issue. One should be acquainted with the art of summary writings/précis writings/substance writings to save the time of Courts.

3. To come to the case at hand, to avoid unnecessary complications, I will first deal with the facts of W.P.(C) No. 136 of 2006, decide the same and apply my decision thereon, so far as possible, to the facts of the remaining cases. There are 27 petitioners in this writ petition, and some of them are presently under the Power Department of the State of Tripura, while the rest were absorbed to the Tripura State Electricity Corporation Ltd., Agartala. The names and their respective dates of initial appointment as fixed pay Junior Engineers in the Power Department, Government of Tripura are shown below:

4. On 26-9-1989, the respondent No. 3 issued the employment notice inviting applications from interested candidates for filling up several temporary posts of Junior Engineer (Electrical/Mechanical) on a fixed pay of ` 1,000/- per month for degree holders and a fixed pay of ` 800/- for diploma holders. The petitioners appeared in the interview (there was no written examination), were selected and were thereafter appointed in the posts of Junior Engineers (Electrical/Mechanical) for degree holders under the Department of Power, Government of Tripura in the fixed pay of ` 1,000/- per month. After their temporary services were extended for one year, the State-respondents through the Joint Secretary to the Government of Tripura, Finance Department issued the Office memorandum dated 3-9-1992 granting the benefit of regular scale of pay to the petitioners against regular posts. With the concurrence of the Finance Department, the State-respondents through the Deputy Secretary in the Department of Power issued the Office Order dated 22-12-1992 ordering the conversion of 70 posts of "Fixed Pay" Junior Engineer (Electrical) and (Mechanical) with the scale of pay of ` 2000-4410/- for 25 posts of Junior Engineer (Elect) Grade-I for Degree Holder Electrical Engineer, with the scale of pay of ` 1450-3710/- for 15 posts of Junior Engineer (Elect) Grade-II for Diploma Holder Electrical Engineers, with the scale of pay of ` 2000-4410/- for 20 posts of Junior Engineer (Mech) Grade-I for Degree Holder Mechanical Engineers and with the scale of pay of ` 1450-3710/- for 10 posts of Junior Engineer (Mech) Grade-II for Diploma Holder Mechanical Engineers into regular posts of Junior Engineers with effect from 1-10-1992. Consequently, the 70 posts of "Fixed Pay" Junior Engineers (Elect) & (Mech) stood abolished following the introduction of regular scale of pay for the incumbent in position. Thereafter, by the Office memorandum dated 7-12-1992 issued by the Finance Department, Govt. of Tripura, a higher pay scale of ` 2100-4530/- as against the existing pay scale of ` 2000-4410 was granted to Grade-V(a) of Tripura/Engineering Service/Tripura Power Engineering Services.

5. The petitioners were apparently the beneficiaries of this higher pay scale for sometime. They were also from time to time transferred to and posted against the posts held by regular Junior Engineers (Elect/Mech), Grade-I and Grade-II. The Engineer-in-Chief, PWD thereafter issued the memorandum dated 26-12-1992 converting some 30 posts of "Fixed Pay" Junior engineer (Civil/Mechanical) into regular posts thereby enabling them to get a regular pay scale. Some of the petitioners were also allowed to participate in the departmental examination for being promoted to the grade of Assistant Engineer (Electrical) and passed the examination vide the memorandum dated 12-3-1993. However, the Chief Engineer (Electrical) issued the memorandum dated 11-4-1996 declaring that in the event that the pay scale of ` 2100-4530/- was granted to any Fixed Pay Junior Engineer with effect from 1-4-1993, the excess payment i.e. after calculating the pay in the pay scale of ` 2000-4410 would stand deducted. This was followed by another Memorandum issued by the Joint Secretary, Govt. of Tripura, PWD declaring that those who had not been absorbed in the cadre service would continue to draw their pay in the pay scale of ` 2000-4530/- and that the pay scale of ` 2100-4530/- would, however, be admissible after they were absorbed in the cadre. Similar order was issued by the Engineering Officer, Chief Engineer (Electrical), Tripura in respect of the Diploma Holder Junior Engineer (Electrical) (Ex-cadre).

6. At this stage, it may be noted that a writ petition being WP(C) No. 560 of 1999 was filed by some of the petitioners before this Court, which by the order dated 7-12-1999 had directed the State-respondents to allow the petitioners to enjoy the pay scale of ` 2100-4530/- (Un-revised) and the corresponding revised pay scale from the date of their joining to the posts whichever was later till disposal of the case. It was, however, made clear that such payment would be subject to the condition that in case the petitioners failed in the writ petition, they would refund the excess amount to the Government. It would appear that by the Memorandum dated 6-4-2000 read with the Corrigendum dated 18-4-2000 issued by the Engineering Officer & Deputy Secretary, PWD applicable to Power Department, the interim order of this Court dated 7-12-1999 was implemented by the State-respondents. Some seven years later, the State-respondents through the Under Secretary, Power Department issued the notification dated 29-10-2007 deciding for encadrement of 140 ex-cadre Junior Engineers under the Department of Power according to their respective qualifications by relaxing Rule 35 of TPES Rules, 1987 after observance of due codal (sic) formalities including formal concurrence of Tripura Public Service Commission subject to the conditions stated therein. By means of this notification, the petitioners were placed en bloc junior to the Junior Engineer already holding the cadre posts in Grade-V(B) of the Tripura Power Engineering Service cadre, and were encadred accordingly with effect from 30-12-2003 and that their past services would be counted for the purpose of finalization of pension. Aggrieved by this, this writ petition has been filed.

7. The writ petition is resisted by the State-respondents by filing their affidavit. According to the answering respondents, the claim of the petitioners for initial higher pay scale of ` 2100-4530/- with effect from 1-4-1993 was not admissible simply because they do not belong to the cadre of the Tripura Power Engineering Service; such benefits are extended only to specified cadre service Junior Engineers. The second claim for the revised pay scale of ` 7450-10300/- is equally not admissible to the petitioners as they were in the pay scale of ` 2000-4410/-, which was revised to ` 6500-12300/- under the ROP Rules, 1999. The petitioners are not entitled to Career Advancement Scheme envisaged in Rule 10 of the ROP Rules, which is applicable only to those employees who have completed 8 years service in the cadre post. Rule 5(xv) of the 15th Amendment to ROP Rules clearly provides that the benefit of CAS is admissible to those Government employees who were recruited through due process of recruitment under the relevant RR. As none of the petitioners were recruited in that manner, they cannot claim CAS. There are three categories of Junior Engineers under the State Government. The first category belongs to Junior Engineers who were recruited by following the due process of recruitment under the Tripura Power Engineering Service (TPES). The second category belongs to Junior Engineers who were recruited in different Departments (other than PWD and Power Departments) in accordance with the relevant R.R. of the respective departments. The third category belongs to Junior Engineers who were engaged without following due process of recruitment under the Tripura Engineering Service Rules or the Tripura Power Engineering Service Rules or duly framed RR for other departments. The petitioners belong to the third category as they were recruited without due...

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