Group A status to Senior Accounts Officer /Senior Audit Officer: Circular from AIAAOA

Circular from AIAAOA regarding Group A status of Sr.AO
(Recognised by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India) 
No. AIAAAOA/Circular/2013-14/ 10 
The National Executive Members & 
The Secretaries of the Affiliates. 
Dear Comrades,  

Meeting with Honourable Finance Minister:  

In the background of the submission of the Secretary, department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance that the Government had decided to file Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court of India on our Contempt Petition (Case No 966 of 2013) regarding the implementation of Group ‘A’ status to Sr.AO, we have been taking steps to meet the Finance Minister to pursue our Group A case for his direct intervention to settle the issue. Initially, on 12th Feb along with Honourable Member of the Parliament Shri.S.S.Ramasubbu, Com.T.C.Gambir, Com.R.K.Goutham, Com.P.Prabhakar along with Secretary General Com.S.Mohan approached his Personal Secretary Shri.Siddique I.A.S in the North Block and submitted a memorandum at the appointed time and briefed him about our case. Then, the Secretary General Com.S.Mohan and the President Com.P.Prabhakar along with Shri S.S.Ramasubbu Honourable Member of Parliament met the Honourable Minister for Finance Shri P.Chidambaram at his residence on 12th February in the evening. 

After exchange of pleasantries, we submitted the following facts before the Honourable Finance Minister. 
  • The Federation has been pursuing the issue of “Group A status” for the SAOs of the Department. 
  • As its efforts proved futile the Association was constrained to approach the Hon. CAT in the matter and subsequently the Hon. High Court of Delhi. 
  • The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has pronounced the Group ‘A’ case judgment on 17.9.2013 setting aside the CAT judgment dt.10.12.2012, as also the Office Memorandum of the Central Government dated 11.04.2011, 17.06.2011 and 7.7.2011, which deny us the classification as Group A along with the attendant benefits. 
  • Further Honourable High Court of Delhi ruled that Sr.Audit Officers and Sr.Accounts Officers are Group ‘A’ officers as mandated under the applicable rules themselves. 

We requested the kind indulgence of the Honourable Minister of Finance in ensuring that the order of the Hon. Court is complied with. It was our submission that delay in the issue had affected a large number of SAOs who retire from service without being granted their due status there by suffering injustice which might be undone if the order of the Hon. Court of Delhi is complied with without further loss of time. The Federation also submitted a detailed Note in this regard. After hearing our case patiently, the Honourable Minister for Finance has agreed to examine the issue. 
II Phase of Agitation: The Federation reminds the units of its 2nd phase of the agitation of collecting a letter in duplicate individually (copy enclosed) from all Senior Audit Officers/Audit Officers and Sr.Accounts Officers/Accounts Officers by all affiliates. One copy is to be sent by them through proper channel to the Expenditure Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of India so as to reach the Expenditure Secretary before the end of Parliamentary Session in February 2014 i.e not later than 19th Feb 2014. Another copy should be sent as ‘advance copy’ to the Secretary, Department of Expenditure. On the day of 19th Feb 2014 all affiliated units should conduct the General Body meeting and send the 2nd copy of letters collected 
from AO/Sr.Aos to the Secretary Expenditure as prescribed. 
Remittance of Head Quarters Quota: The National Executive of the Federation reminds all its affiliates, to remit head quarters Quota at the rate of Rs.120/- per member per annum in the Name of the Account of All India Audit and Accounts Officers Association maintained in the branch of Thousand Lights, Chennai in the Canara Bank in the Number 0941101990728. It is requested that the Head Quarters Quota may be paid before March as the financial year is nearing closure. With the remittance of Head quarters Quota only we are conducting our organisational activities. Non remittance of the same would fetter the activities of head quarters association. Hence it is once again requested that all the affiliates may please remit their respective Head Quarters Quota without any further delay or default. It is our conscious decision that the Federation is not interested to publish the list of defaulters. All National Executive Committee Members are requested to take steps to ensure the remittance of Head Quarters Quota at least from their respective station 
 Yours Fraternally, 
 Secretary General. 


In 1992, the cadre of Senior Audit and Senior Accounts Officers was created by a Cabinet decision by upgrading 80% of the posts of Audit Officers and Accounts Officers (in the pay scale of Rs.2375-3500/-) respectively on a non-functional basis to a scale of pay which was meant for Group A officers of the Government of India, i.e Rs. 2200-4000/-. Though this cadre was created and given the same pay scale as Group A officers, the Government of India continued to classify them as Group B officers. The C&AG also appears to have consented to this in 1992. 
Thereafter in 2008, the CCS (Revised Pay) Rules were notified, where the concept of “Pay Bands” (“PB”) were introduced. The Senior Audit and Accounts Officers were placed in PB -3. The CCS (RP) Rules 2008 provide for classification of groups based on Pay Band (See Entry 17 of Section I, Part –A, Schedule I of CCS (Revised Pay Rules, 2008). 
On 9-4-2009, the DoPT published a Notification, whereby all persons in PB-3 were to be classified as Group A. This Notification specifically states that it applies to persons working in the IA&AD and that the C&AG has been consulted in this regard. (Annexure A to this Note is the 9-4-2009 Notification). On 17-4-2009, another Notification was published by the DoPT reiterating the 9-4-2009 Notification and further stating that in some departments the classification of posts was not according to Pay Band and if any Department wished to continue this, they would have to inform the DoPT in writing within 3 months from the date of the Notification and the DoPT would publish a notice stating the Departments in which the rule of classification of posts in accordance with Pay Bands is not applicable. Annexure B is a copy of the Notification dated 17-4-2009 
By these 2 notifications, it is further made clear that the Senior Audit and Accounts officers have to be classified as Group A. The C&AG did not, within 3 months, write to the DoPT for an exemption to this Rule nor has any notification been issued exempting this Rule from applying to the IA&AD. The Association took up this issue with C&AG who agreed with the demand of the Petitioners and requested the MoF to consider the request. The Proposal of the C&AG dated 7-4-2011 is annexed as Annexure C. 
Therefore from 1.1.2006 (i.e, the date on which the CCS Pay Rules were to come into effect), the Senior Audit and Accounts Officers of the IA&AD ought to have been placed in Group A. However this was not done. 
The Ministry of Finance vide three Office Memorandum dated 11-4-2011, 17-6-2011 and 7-7-2011 did not agree to this request. All three state the same reasons. Further, surprisingly none of these OMs discuss the DoPT circulars which are binding. 
The Association was therefore left with no option but to approach the CAT. The Honourable Central Administrative Tribunal Delhi directed that, since Cabinet took the decision in 1992 to classify the post as Group B, only Cabinet can set this right. This was challenged before the Honourable High Court of Delhi. The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has pronounced its judgment on 17.9.2013 setting aside the judgement of the CAT, as also the Office Memorandum of the Central Government dated 11.04.2011, 17.06.2011 and 7.7.2011, which deny the SAOs classification as Group A Officers along with the attendant benefits. 
Further Honourable High Court of Delhi ruled that Sr.Audit Officers and Sr.Accounts Officers are Group ‘A’ officers as mandated under the applicable rules. The respondents were directed to implement the order within 6 weeks. 
It is therefore requested that immediate action may be taken in this matter and orders declaring the cadre of Sr.Audit Officers and Sr.Accounts Officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Department as Group ‘A’ be passed so that the Honourable High Court of Delhi Order is duly complied with. 
Secretary General 
All India Audit and Accounts Officers Association 
Source: http://www.fightforright.in/misc/AIAAOA.pdf

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