Rajwant Sandhu, Member (A).
1. Since the background of the matter and issues involved are identical, both these OAs are disposed of through a common order. However, for convenience, the facts are taken from OA No.063/00051/2014 titled Vijay Kumar Sharma & Ors. Vs. UOI wherein relief has been sought as follows:-
(i) That the impugned order dated 24.03.2014 (Annexure A-1) be quashed and set aside wholly illegal and arbitrary.
(ii) That it be declared that applicants cannot be paid less than Rs. 9300-34800 with GP Rs.4200/- which already stands granted to the applicants as 2nd ACP and question of their entitlement to 2nd ACP in the pay scale of Rs. 5000-8000 at par with industrial employees may be decided by the respondents in a time bound manner. Applicants be also held entitled to all consequential benefits.
2. Averment has been made in the OA that all the applicants were appointed in the respondent department in the category of Meter Readers from different dates. A comparative chart showing the date of appointment, date of grant of first ACP, second ACP and third MACP is enclosed as Annexure A-2. All the applicants have now retired from service and their dates of retirement and the unit from where they have retired are also reflected in the chart. The applicants belong to Skilled Category and they were granted pay scale of Rs. 260-400 which was revised to Rs. 950-1500 w.e.f. 01.01.1986 and to Rs. 3050-4590 w.e.f. 1.1.1996. The applicants were granted first ACP in the pay scale of Rs. 4000-6000 and thereafter 2nd ACP in the scale of Rs. 4500-7000. After implementation of 6th CPC recommendations, the pay of the applicants was fixed in the pay band of Rs. 5200-20200 with Grade Pay of Rs. 2800/- w.e.f. 1.1.2006.
3. In the meanwhile, GOI introduced MACP Scheme with financial upgradation after 10/20/30 years of service and the PB and GP of the post of MCM has been revised to Rs. 9300-34800 with Grade Pay of Rs. 4200. Accordingly, since applicants became eligible for such benefit, they were granted 3rd MACP in Rs. 9300-34800 with Grade Pay of Rs. 4200 vide SRO No. 01/S dated 25.01.2011 and SRO No. 40/S dated 25.10.2011 (Annexure A-9).
4. Representations were submitted by the applicants that they were entitled to 3rd MACP in Pay Band Rs. 9300-34800 with Grade Pay of Rs. 4600/- as they were claiming the benefits of 2nd ACP in the pay scale of Rs. 5000-8000. However, by the impugned order dated 24.03.2014 (Annexure A-1) has been passed by the respondent No. 3 in a wholly illegal and arbitrary manner as the applicants were not associated with such decision nor any show cause notice has been issued to them before reducing their Pay Band which is against the principles of natural justice and cannot be sustained in the eyes of law. All the skilled workers in MES have been granted 1st ACP in the pay scale of Rs. 4000-6000, 2nd ACP in the pay scale of Rs. 5000-8000 revised to Rs. 9300-34800 with Grade Pay of Rs. 4200/- with benefit of 3rd MACP being extended in Rs. 9300-34800 with Grade Pay of Rs. 4600 as is clear from MOD letter dated 17.11.2009 (Annexure A-10) and therefore, denial of similar benefit to the applicants and withdrawal of a lower benefit after a lapse of more than three years is wholly illegal and arbitrary.
5. In the written statement filed on behalf of the respondents, it has been stated that as per service profile, the applicants were appointed as Meter Reader and were placed in the pay scale of Rs. 3050-75-3950-80-4590. Consequent upon introduction of ACP Scheme w.e.f. 9.8.1999 for financial upgradation under ACPS on completion of 12 years and 24 years of service, the applicants were granted two ACPs after completion of 12 years and 24 years of service w.e.f. 9.8.1999. Ist ACP was granted in the pay scale of Rs. 4500-125-7000, as the individuals being in the industrial hierarchy but were not workshop staff. Consequent upon introduction of RPR-08, they were placed in the pay scale of Rs. 5200-20200 with Grade Pay of Rs. 2800/- as recommended by the 6th CPC. A copy of the Pay Scale Structure is annexed as Annexure R-1. Dte. General of Personnel CSCC Engineer-in-Chief’s Branch Integrated HQ of MOD (Army), New Delhi vide their letter No. CC-III B. 75022/Meter Reader/CSCC dated 1.11.2010 took up the proposal for Meter Readers for granting the pay scale of Rs. 5000-150-8000 with MOD under RPR 06 after completion of 24 years of service under ACP-II. However, the same was turned down by MOD stating that 'Meter Reader Category was restructured as per Para No. 63 : 197 of Vth CPC Report, whereas Artisan Cadre was restructured vide Para No. 184.108.40.206 of Vth CPC Report. Hence, the same is not applicable for Meter Readers. In this regard, a copy of E-in-Cs Br. New Delhi letter No. CC.III.B.75022/Meter Reader/CSCC dated 1st November, 2010 is annexed (Annexure R-2). As per this letter, the Meter Readers are only entitled for pay scale of Rs. 4500-125-7000 after completion of 24 years of service under ACP Scheme and were placed in the pay scale of Rs. 5200-20200 with Grade Pay of Rs. 2800 as per RPR-08. After completion of 30 years of service, individuals are due for 3rd MACP in PB-1 in the Pay Scale of Rs. 5200-20200 with Grade Pay of Rs. 2800/- as per DOPT ID No. 7680/12/CR dated 13.7.2012 (Annexure R-3) as Financial Upgradation under ACP/MACP Scheme cannot be more than what can be allowed to an employee on his normal promotion.
6. Arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the parties were heard. Learned counsel for the applicant stated that as per order dated 25.1.2011 (Annexure A-9), the applicants were allowed third MACP in the pay scale of Rs. 9300-34800 with Grade Pay of Rs. 4200 and the same was sought to be withdrawn through SRO No. 06/5 dated 24.3.2014 and the applicants were being brought down to the pay scale of Rs. 5200-20200 with Grade Pay of Rs. 2800. This had been done without issuing any Show Cause Notice to the applicants. Moreover, the applicants had retired from service and the benefit already allowed to them by way of third MACP in the pay scale of Rs. 9300-34800 could not be denied to them.
7. Learned counsel for the respondents stated that clarification was received vide letter dated 11.9.2013 regarding financial upgradation of Meter Readers (Annexure R-7). As per this letter, since Grade Pay of Rs. 4200 was not there in the line of promotion of Meter Reader, they could not be given this Grade Pay under MACPS. Learned counsel further stated that Rs. 4200/- was the Grade Pay allowed to persons in the rank of Junior Engineer and MCMs were promoted as JEs. Hence, under the MACPS, the Grade Pay of the promotional post could not been allowed to the applicants who were Meter Readers and their claim in this regard was without merit.
8. We have given our careful consideration to the matter. While asserting the claim for 3rd MACP in Pay Band of Rs. 9300-34800 with Grade Pay of Rs. 4200, the applicants have sought to equate themselves with the industrial employees. While deciding the matter in OA No. 063/00136/14 titled Vijay Kumar Sharma & Ors. (in which the applicants in OA No. 063/00051/2014 were also the applicants listed at Sr. No. 1-5 in this OA and applicants in OA No. 063/00052/2014 were also applicants listed at Sr. No. 6-12 in this OA) on 11.9.2015, it has been concluded as follows:-
'12. Meter Readers of the MES are not working in production units or repair workshops unlike the artisan staff. Keeping in view the fact that the artisans and the Meter Readers are working under the MOD and these categories have been discussed in separate chapters of the Fifth CPC recommendations, we have to conclude that decisions related to pay of one cadre do not necessarily apply to the other. The claim made in the rejoinder that letters dated 20.05.2003 (Annexure A-3) and 14.06.2010 (Annexure A-4) cover the category of Meter readers is not substantiated from the content of these letters. Hence, the relief sought through this OA by the Meter Readers claiming analogy with the artisan staff cannot be accepted. Moreover, since it has been stated on behalf of the respondents in the counter reply that the restructuring of the cadre of the Meter Readers is under the consideration of E-in-C Branch (Ministry of Defence) it would be better for the applicants to await the decision of the MOD in this regard. At present, we cannot grant relief to the applicants as per their claim that 2nd ACP should be in the scale of Rs. 5000-8000. However, MOD may settle the issue regarding restructuring of the Meter Readers cadre expeditiously. Hence, the OA is disposed of with these observations.'
The applicant were given 2nd ACP in the scale of Rs. 4500-7000 and after the 6th CPC recommendations were implemented from 01.01.2006, they were in the pay scale of Rs. 5200-20,200 with Grade Pay of
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Rs. 2800. The dates of appointment of the applicants range from 14.3.1974 to 3.5.1980 and while they were in service, they had apparently completed 30 years without having got any promotion. They only got the benefit of first and second financial upgradations under the ACP Scheme. Obviously, therefore, they would be entitled for third financial upgradation on completion of 30 years’ service. It is for the respondent department to take a decision regarding the Pay Band/Grade Pay in which the third financial upgradation is to be allowed to the applicants. Since the applicants have all retired from service, decision in this regard may be taken within two months of a certified copy of this order being served upon the respondents and the revision of their pay/retiral benefits be effected accordingly. 9. The OA stands disposed of with the above directions. No costs. 10. A copy of this order may be placed in the file relating to OA No. 060/00052/14 as well.