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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Parity between Assistant, SO of Ordnance Factory and CSS/CSSS Pay Scale: Judgement by HC citing "Equal pay for Equal Work"


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Parity between Assistant, SO of Ordnance Factory and CSS/CSSS Pay Scale: Landmark Judgement by HC citing "Equal pay for Equal Work".  Text of Hindustan Times News reproduced below:-
New pay scale benefits for ordnance staff too: HC
UNIFORMITY Citing ‘equal pay for equal work’ principle, Delhi High Court tells Centre to grant pay parity to ordnance factory employees

Employees at Ordnance Factories (OF) – who have been contesting their omission from the benefits of the sixth pay commission for over seven years have finally more than one reason to rejoice.
Reining in the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ at public offices, the Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to grant pay parity to employees in the OF with that of identically ranked official in the Central Secretariat Service (CSS) and Central Secretariat Stenographer’s Service (CSSS).
The direction will be applied retrospectively from 2006 — when the sixth CPC was implemented. Not only this, the HC order will come in handy for the employees of the OF when the seventh central pay commission is implemented.
The HC order came in response to a petition filed by Ordnance Factory Employees Association challenging the decision of the finance ministry declining their request for the assistants working in the OF Board to be given same pay scale as was given to similarly placed officials in CSS, CSSS, Ar my Headquarters, UPSC and other services.
The starting point of discrimination against the employees of the OF Board came soon before the acceptance of recommendation of the sixth CPC when a pay upgradation of employees of CSS and CSSS was made in September 2006.
While the OFs and Armed Forces Head Quarters (AFHQs) — both non-secretariat organization — were excluded from the pay upgradation, the latter took the matter to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and got an order in its favour.
In the case of OF Board, the central government took the view that since it was a nonattached office working outside the Secretariat, there cannot be parity of pay scales. The OF Board was denied benefit of upgradation and the replacement scales given by the sixth CPC. The CAT, too, took a similar stand and denied any relief to the OF Board.
The matter finally reached the Delhi HC last year and after over a year of deliberation a bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Vipin Sanghi termed the discrimination meted out to the OF Board as “over-classification.”
The HC said the discrimination was illogical and artificial. It also took note that the cadre structure of CSS and CSSS is identical to that of the OF. In all the above organisations, the cadre of upper divisional clerks (UDCs) is filled by the feeder of the cadre of the lower divisional clerks (LDCs).
The cadre of assistants on the OF Board is filled by promotion from the feeder cadre of UDCs with at least five years of experience on regular basis.
“The OF Board was treated historically as equals to CSS/CSSS employees and enjoyed equal pay and all benefits flowing from equal pay,” the high court noted adding, “This was based on the previous four instances of determinations by successive pay commissions that they performed equal work.”
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