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'Qualification based grading for pay justified'

SC has held that on the basis of qualifications higher pay can be given to better qualified persons working in the same post.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 10:58 IST

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court has held that classification can be made on the basis of educational qualifications to give higher pay scales to better qualified persons working in the same post.

Allowing the appeal of the Uttar Pardesh State Sugar Corporation Ltd, a bench comprising Mr Justice SB Sinha and Mr Justice PP Naolekar on May 12 set aside an Allahabad High Court judgement and directed that the money, if any, paid to the lesser qualified respondent be recovered.

In 1970, the UP Sugar Wage Board, prescribed different scales of pay for different categories of employees working in all the vacuum pan sugar factories in the state. Educational qualifications were laid down as criteria for classifying the employees in different grades.

Revised pay scales for laboratory incharge were made effective with effect from October 23, 1984 and those with BSc degree and post graduate diploma in sugar technology from National Sugar Institute were given higher pay scale of Rs 900-1770. On the other hand, those without such educational qualifications were given the scale of Rs770-1600.

Sant Raj Singh, a laboratory incharge in the Sugar Corporation Ltd continued to be in the lower grade as he did not have the requisite educational qualification. In 1996, he filed a writ in the high court, seeking the pay scale being paid to his colleagues B P Srivastva and Shyam Sunder Shukla.

The High Court allowed the writ of the respondent.

The apex court, while setting aside the high court judgement said, "We cannot accept the contention that only because no such qualification was prescribed at the time of recruitment, the classification made on that basis would be bad in law. Yet again the validity or otherwise of the said policy decision is not in question. The said policy decision was taken as far back in 1984. It cannot be assumed that the first respondent was not aware of the same.

First Published: May 21, 2006 10:58 IST