1. Heard Mr. Supehia, learned advocate for petitioner. The petitioner has prayed, inter alia, that:
“15(b) Be pleased to issue writ of mandamus or certiorari or any other appropriate writ, order or direction to the respondent authorities, to grant and pay the benefits of the revised corresponding pay scale as per the Sixth Pay Commission with retrospective effect from the 01/01/2006 with running interest p.a.
(c) Be pleased to direct the respondent authorities to grant and pay the 2nd higher pay scale benefits as per the Govt's own policy dated 02/07/2007 to the present petitioner with retrospective effect from 09/04/2008 with running interest p.a.
(d) Be pleased to direct the respondent authorities to grant and pay the increment of April, 2015 and subsequently the consequential increments on the basis of his revised corresponding pay scale from 2009 with retrospective effect including the running interest p.a.
(e) Be pleased to direct the respondent authorities to issue No Objection Certificate towards the H.B.A and Vehicle loan which were already repaid including the interest and penalty since 2005.
(f) Be pleased to direct the respondent authorities to recompense the two installments towards the petitioner's G.P.F Account forthwith and also be pleased to direct the respondents to pay the Special
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pay of April2004 and from February2009 till date with interest.
(g) Be pleased to declare that the petitioner is entitled to the revised corresponding pay scale as per the Sixth Pay Commission, 2nd higher pay scale after completion of 24 years of service and in addition to the increment in April2005 and consequently the revised increments on the basis of revised pay scale and G.P.F intallments and other emoluments, arrears and other remuneration with retrospective effects apropos, and upon appropriate fixation being carried out in the pya scale of petitioner, subsequent future revision to be carried out qua revised pay scale along with all consequential benefits with interest.“
2. From the relief prayed for by the petitioner it becomes clear that the petitioner felt aggrieved on account of nonpayment of the benefits payable to him on the basis of recommendation by Sixth Pay Commission, which became due and payable with effect from January, 2006. The petitioner also felt aggrieved on account of nonpayment of 2nd higher pay scale in accordance with Policy dated 2.7.2007. The petitioner has also contended that on account of failure in revising the salary on the basis of recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission coupled with failure in releasing 2nd higher pay scale, the petitioner also suffered loss at the time when regular increments became due and payable.
3. The petitioner has claimed payment for the said benefits and has also prayed for interest for the period of delay.
4. The Court called upon the respondents, vide Notice dated 25.4.2014, to answer the petitioner. However, until October, 2016, the respondents did not file affidavit and they failed to place relevant facts on record. It was only on 17.10.2016 or thereafter that the affidavit came to be filed by the respondent no.2.
5. So as to justify the relief prayed for in the petition, the petitioner has averred and stated that:
“3. The petitioner states that he had been initially appointed on 09/04/1984 as a Dental Hygienist in G.G. Hospital, Jamnagar. He had received the benefit of 1st higher pay scale as per the earlier policy of the higher pay scale 91827 dated 16/08/1994 by the State Government. Thereafter, he had been posted to the S.S.G Hospital, Baroda on 22/03/2004, and thereafter he had been deputed to the P.D.U Hospital, Rajkot on 20/01/2009.
4. The petitioner states that he has not received his revised pay scale as per the Sixth Pay Commission w.e.f 01/01/2006. It is submitted that the Gujarat Civil Services (Revision of Pay) Rules, 2009 were introduced way back in the year 2010 w.e.f 01/01/2006. That the said rules of revision of pay scales have been adopted mutatismutandis by the State Govt. and all other departments. In a classic example of the present petitioner's pay scale has not been revised even after lapse of 45 years and he is still receiving the 1st higher pay scale which was granted at the relevant time. As a result, the petitioner is working till today without revised corresponding pay scale as per Sixth Pay Commission fixation, inasmuch as he has also not received his increment from April2005 and subsequently he has also not received his revised increment as per the G.C.S.R (R.O.P), 2009. Therefore, the petitioner made number of representations requesting that his claim for revised corresponding scale may be fixed and his increments may be released which is due form April2005. The petitioner states that even thos representations have remained unanswered by the respondent authorities. Annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXUREA collectively to this petition are copies of representations dated 25/03/2010, 09/05/20111 and 04/09/2012.
5. The petitioner states that the State Govt. had modified the rules of higher pay scale 91827 to 1224 years on 02/07/2007. Now as per the resolution dated 02/07/2007 the petitioner was entitled for 2nd higher pay scale benefit from 09/04/2008 with retrospective effect which means after completion of 24 years of service. A copy of the Govt. resolution dated 02/07/2007 regarding the policy of higher pay scale is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXUREB to this petition. It is submitted that the petitioner had made representation on 10/08/2011 requesting respondent authorities to confer his 2nd higher pay scale as he had completed 24 years of services and also requested for revision of his pay scale with retrospective effect from 01/01/2006, which has to be revised to the corresponding pay scale with all revision thereon till filing of the present petition and, to give consequential benefits in increments. The respondent authorities by not even deciding such simple issues are committing a blatantly illegal act and therefore appropriate observations also deserves to be made against the concerned authorities who are responsible for such lackadaisical attitude. A copy of the representation dated 10/08/2011 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXUREC to this petition.
6. The petitioner states that the respondent authorities are even so negligent regarding the Special Pay which was being paid to the petitioner till May2005. Thereafter he has not received this Special Pay in April2004 and consequently from February2009 till today. In this regard, the petitioner also made representation to disburse his Special Pay of April2004 and February2009 onwards till date but the respondent authorities did not decided the same till date, neither the respondent authorities have granted him such benefits till date. Copies of the pay slips of May2004, April2004 & February2009 alongwith the representation dated 09/05/2011 are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURED collectively to this petition.”
6. According to details mentioned by the petitioner,it appears that the revision in salary on the basis of recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission became effective from 01.01.2006 and that therefore the petitioner's salary should have been revised accordingly with effect from 01.01.2006.
7. It is undisputed fact that until, 2015 i.e. for almost 9 years the petitioner's salary was not revised on the basis of recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission and the said benefits were not granted to the petitioner until September, 2015.
8. According to the petitioner, he became eligible for 2nd higher pay scale with effect from April, 2008. The respondents failed to grant the said benefits to the petitioner within reasonable time. Undisputedly the respondent did not grant the said benefits to the petitioner until, 2016 i.e. for almost 8 years.
9. The said facts have emerged from reply affidavit filed by respondent no.2 wherein the respondent no.2 averred and stated that:
“5. I say and submit that the prayers sought in para no 15(b) to (g) of this petition is mostly compiled by the deponent.
6. I say and submit that as per the sixth pay commission the petitioner's pay scale is revised and accordingly revised pay is also fixed and periodical increments have been realised vide order No.1629/SSG/EST/NUR/ROP.092303 dated 29/09/2015 issued by Executive Officer SSG Hospital Vadodara, which is annexed herewith and marked as Annexure R1 (Colly).
7. I say and submit that the present petitioner is granted 2nd Higher Pay Scale vide order no: HPS/102015/S.F.S/68/S dated 20.06.2016 passed by the Health and Family Welfare Department. A copy of order dated 20.06.2016 is annexed herewith and marked as Annexure R( 3).
8. I say and submit that the authority has issued no objection certificate for the house building advance (HBA) and vehicle advance in favour of petitioner vide order dated 09.12.2014 and 24.07.2014 respectively. The copies of order dated 09.12.2014 and 24.07.2014 is annexed herewith and marked as AnnexureR( 4) Colly.”
10. After the respondent no.2 filed the said affidavit in 2016, the petitioner has not filed any counter/ rejoinder. In that view of the matter, the details mentioned by the respondent in the affidavit have remained uncontroverted.
11. From the reply affidavit of the respondent it has emerged that the revision in pay scale on the basis of recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission have been granted to the petitioner vide order dated 29.9.2015. A copy of the said order is placed on record at Annexure R1 (page56). From the said order it emerges that under order dated 29.9.2015, the respondents approved and granted the benefits of Sixth Pay Commission to the petitioner and accordingly his salary came to he revised with effect from 01.01.2006 i.e. retrospectively and regular increment upto July, 2015 also came to be granted under the said order dated 29.9.2015. Meaning thereby, the petitioner got the benefit after 9 years.
12. So far as petitioner's claim for 2nd Higher Pay Scale is concerned, in Para8 of the Reply Affidavit the respondent has stated that the said benefits have been granted to the petitioner vide order dated 20.6.2016. From the said reply it becomes clear that the petitioner's entitlement for the said benefits was never in dispute.
13. It is pertinent to note that the reply affidavit does not give out any reason for delay in granting the benefits. There is not even a whisper justifying the delay. It is not the case even of the respondents that the delay occurred on account of any fault of the petitioner or on account of pendency of any substantial dispute with regard to the petitioner's entitlement. On the contrary from the reply affidavit it emerges that the petitioner's entitlement for said benefits was never in dispute. It was either negligence or indifference or lethargy on the part of the respondent which caused delay in payment of the said benefits to the petitioner. As mentioned above, the respondents have not offered any explanation or justification for causing such delay i.e. of almost 9 years in payment of benefits to which the petitioner was legally entitled. The fact that the benefits have been paid in September, 2015 and June, 2016 respectively is not disputed by the petitioner.
14. Therefore, now the only question which survives is with regard to claim for interest.
15. Of course, in the petition, the petitioner has made some grievance with regard to mistake in crediting GPF Account of the petitioner with appropriate payment. However, the said aspect is clarified by the respondent in Para10 of the reply affidavit and that therefore the said controversy now does not survive.
16. So far as the delay in payment of the benefits as per Sixth Pay Commission is concerned, the respondents have, as mentioned above, failed to offer any explanation. Likewise, any explanation with regard to delay in payment of 2nd Higher Pay Scale is also not offered by the respondents.
17. From the reply affidavit filed by the respondents it appears that respondents harbour belief that they can make payment of benefits at their sweet will and at such time which is convenient to them. It also appears that the respondents believe that they do not owe any obligation even to the Court to offer explanation for their lethargy and negligence which results into delay of payment of benefits salary etc., to the employees. It appears that the respondents believe that they are not answerable or accountable to anybody and they need not offer any explanation as to why timely payment and benefits are not made to the employees.
18. In view of the fact that there is no justification for delay in granting benefits, the petitioner is entitled to interest.
19. Having regard to the fact that there is no explanation or justification for the delay more particularly any cause for delay is not attributed or attributable to the petitioner and the delay has occurred without any legally sustainable justification, the respondents are liable not only to pay interest at regular/ ordinary rate of interest i.e. 8% but the respondents should be saddled with obligation to pay penal interest at 10%. Therefore, following order is passed:
a. The respondent shall pay, within 4 weeks from the date of receipt of certified copy of this order, interest at 10% for the period of delay caused in revising petitioner's salary and making payment of the revised salary and consequential increments to the petitioner from the date of entitlement to the date of actual payment, on both counts i.e. revision of salary on the basis of recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission and 2nd Higher Pay Scale .
20. With aforesaid clarification, the petition is disposed of.