Benefit of one notional increment to the applicants due on 1st July or 1st January of the next year, as the case may be, with all consequential benefits
CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL, JABALPUR BENCH
Original Application Nos. 200/156/2015, 200/51/2019, 200/165/2019, 200/169/2019, 200/236/2019, 200/271/2019, 200/327/2019, 200/336/2019, 200/337/2019, 200/342/2019, 200/348/2019, 200/351/2019, 200/360/2019, 200/366/2019, 200/389/2019, 200/405/2019, 200/495/2019, 200/497/2019, 200/502/2019, 200/505/2019, 200/506/2019, 200/513/2019, 200/547/2019, 200/643/2019, 200/842/2019, 200/985/2019, 200/986/2019, 200/1122/2019, 200/02/2020, 200/127/2020, 200/146/2020, 200/223/2020, 200/225/2020, 200/406/2020, 200/452/2020, 200/586/2021, 200/576/2021, 200/704/2021, 200/983/2021, 200/108/2022, 200/213/2022, 200/215/2022 & 200/606/2022
Jabalpur, this Wednesday, the 28th day of June, 2023
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE AKHIL KUMAR SRIVASTAVA, JUDICIAL MEMBER
HON’BLE MR. KUMAR RAJESH CHANDRA, ADMINISTRATIVE MEMBER
For details of 48 O.A. [see pdf]
V e r s u s
1. Union of India through Secretary, Ministry of Communication, Government of India, Dak Bhavan, 1, Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110001.
2. Postmaster General, Jabalpur Region, Jabalpur (M.P.) – 482001.
3. Sr. Superintendent of Post Offices, Jabalpur Division, Jabalpur (M.P.) – 482001.
4. Senior Postmaster, Head Post Office, Jabalpur (MP) – 482001.
(By Advocate – Shri D.S. Baghel, proxy counsel of Shri S.P. Singh)
(Date of reserving order : 18.05.2023)
C O M M O N O R D E R
By Akhil Kumar Srivastava, JM.-
In these batch of Original Applications, the only question that arises for consideration is as to whether an employee, who retired on 30th June of a year or 31st December of a preceding year, is entitled to be extended the benefit of increment that falls due on 1st July or 1st January of the next year, as the case may be.
2. Since the issue involved in all these Original Applications is common in nature, they are being decided by way of a common order.
3. While the applicants in some of the cases have retired on 30th June, others retired on 31st December. They are aggrieved that they have not been granted the benefit of increment, which was otherwise due to them, only on the ground that by the time the increment became due, they were not in service.
4. We find that the issue regarding grant of one annual increment due on completion of one year service before attaining the age of superannuation has now attained finality in view of the judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No.2471 of 2023 (@SLP(C) No.6185/2020) decided on 11.04.2023 in the case of The Director (Admn. and HR) KPTCL & others vs. C.P. Mundinamani & Ors, wherein it has been held as under:
“6.7 ………. As observed hereinabove, to interpret Regulation 40(1) of the Regulations in the manner in which the appellants have understood and/or interpretated would lead to arbitrariness and denying a government servant the benefit of annual increment which he has already earned while rendering specified period of service with good conduct and efficiently in the last preceding year. It would be punishing a person for no fault of him. As observed hereinabove, the increment can be withheld only by way of punishment or he has not performed the duty efficiently. Any interpretation which would lead to arbitrariness and/or unreasonableness should be avoided. If the interpretation as suggested on behalf of the appellants and the view taken by the Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court is accepted, in that case it would tantamount to denying a government servant the annual increment which he has earned for the services he has rendered over a year subject to his good behaviour. The entitlement to receive increment therefore crystallises when the government servant completes requisite length of service with good conduct and becomes payable on the succeeding day. In the present case the word “accrue” should be understood liberally and would mean payable on the succeeding day. Any contrary view would lead to arbitrariness and unreasonableness and denying a government servant legitimate one annual increment though he is entitled to for rendering the services over a year with good behaviour and efficiently and therefore, such a narrow interpretation should be avoided.
We are in complete agreement with the view taken by the Madras High Court in the case of P. Ayyamperumal (supra); the Delhi High Court in the case of Gopal Singh (supra); the Allahabad High Court in the case of Nand Vijay Singh (supra); the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Yogendra Singh Bhadauria (supra); the Orissa High Court in the case of AFR Arun Kumar Biswal (supra); and the Gujarat High Court in the case of Takhatsinh Udesinh Songara (supra). We do not approve the contrary view taken by the Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the case of Principal Accountant-General, Andhra Pradesh (supra) and the decisions of the Kerala High Court in the case of Union of India Vs. Pavithran (O.P.(CAT) No. 111/2020 decided on 22.11.2022) and the Himachal Pradesh High Court in the case of Hari Prakash Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors. (CWP No. 2503/2016 decided on 06.11.2020).
5. Since the issue involved in this Original Application is no longer res integra as the same has already been decided by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in C.P. Mundinamani (supra), nothing remains further to be adjudicated upon in these matters. Accordingly, all these Original Applications are disposed of with a direction to the respondents to grant the benefit of one notional increment to the applicants due on 1st July or 1st January of the next year, as the case may be, with all consequential benefits. Let the needful be done within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
6. Let a copy of this order shall also be placed in the file of other connected OAs.
7. No order as to costs.
(Kumar Rajesh Chandra)
(Akhil Kumar Srivastava)