A lower rank government official performing duties meant for his superior is entitled to higher wages attached to the senior post for the period when he did the job, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has held.
"We are of the view that once an employee is made to shoulder responsibilities of a higher post, on the principle of quantum meruit (reasonable amount for labor and materials) he would be entitled to the pay scale attached to the (higher) post," the tribunal bench comprising its chairman V K Bali and vice chairman L K Joshi said.
"It is the settled position that if the government, for want of candidate, directs an officer in the lower cadre to perform the duties of the post in the higher cadre, the incumbent would necessarily be entitled to the payment of the salary attached to the higher post during that period," the bench held.
The tribunal's order came on an application filed by a ministry of social justice and empowerment employee Kailash Chand Joshi, seeking arrears of his salary.
Appointed as a personal assistant in the pay scale of Rs. 5500-9000 in the National Commission for Denotified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Joshi performed the duties of principal private secretary, a post in the higher pay scale of Rs. 10000-15200, for eight months from October 1, 2007.
However, Joshi was not given any salary at all for that period. He then approached the CAT seeking arrears of his salary for his services rendered by him as the personal assistant and in the higher grade.
The ministry opposed Joshi's plea contending that his appointment was irregular, but unimpressed by the ministry's contention, the tribunal ordered to pay Joshi the salary due to him for performing duties of the official in higher grade.