Role Of Pay Commission In Fixing Of Pay Of Government Employee
Introduction of Pay commission
The Pay Commission is a body set up by the Central Government that reviews and recommends changes to the salary structure of employees.
The composition of the Pay Commission comes under the Department of Expenditure (Ministry of Finance). The Pay Commissions, established periodically by both the Central Government and State Governments, do not hold statutory status. They do not fall under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. Instead, these commissions are constituted as a part of the executive powers granted to the Union (as per Article 53 and Article 73 of the Constitution) and to the States (as per Article 154 and Article 162 of the Constitution).
Role of the Pay Commission –
Even though the reference is purely in respect of Government servants, If, However, a public undertaking, such as a government-owned company or statutory corporation, chooses to adopt the recommendations made by the Pay Commission and accepted by the government, they are obligated to implement those recommendations.
When an expert body like the Pay Commission or a Pay Revision Committee is in place, the courts should generally refrain from directly ordering the fixation of pay scales and related issues.
Furthermore, even though the Constitution specifies that the conditions of service for individuals in the Indian Audit & Accounts Department should be determined through rules made by the President after consulting with the Comptroller and Auditor General, this should not prevent a reference to the Pay Commission for matters related to the revision of pay for such individuals.
Guiding rules in fixation of pay scale –
It is primarily the function of the pay commission to determine matter related to pay structure and to apply such norms as are proper and relevant, the Supreme Court has outlined certain “basic principles” in fixing the pay scales of various post and cadres in the Government service.. In the case of Delhi Veterinary Association, the Court considered the perspectives of both the employees and the employer, serving as a guiding reference.
“The degree of skill, strain of work, experience involved, training required, responsibility undertaken, mental and physical requirements, disagreeableness of the task, hazard attendant on work and fatigue involved are, according to the Third Pay Commission, some of the relevant factors which should be taken into consideration in fixing pay scales. The method of recruitment, the level at which the initial recruitment is. made in the hierarchy of service or cadre, minimum educational and technical qualify- cations prescribed for the post, the nature of dealings with the public, avenues of pro motion available and horizontal and vertical relativity with other jobs in the same service or outside are also relevant factors.”
Pay Commission recommendation not binding
It is well settled that the recommendations made by a Commission like the Pay Commission is not binding on the Government. It is open to the Government to accept or not to accept the recommendations or any part of it. This follows from the observations of the Supreme Court in Purushottam Lal v. Union of India. The reason behind this principle is that a Pay Commission is set up by the Government to inform and advise itself regarding the various issues relating to the pay structure of its employees. Its basic function, like a Commission of Inquiry appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, is fact finding and the recommendations made by it cannot be enforced proprio vigore.” Non-acceptance of recommendations does not amount to violation of Art. 14 or Art 16 of the Constitution .Further the authorities are not bound to adopt all the recommendations of a Pay Commission.
Since the recommendations of the Pay Commission are not binding on the State the same cannot be enforced by issuing a writ or in the nature of mandamus. For the same reason the State can make rules in exercise of power under the proviso of Article 309 contrary to the recommendations, by evolving policy decisions and give the same retrospective effect.” Pay Commission recommendations can be accepted or rejected by the Government pursuant to its policy and courts cannot direct the Government to accept the recommendations and implement the same from the date recommended in that behalf. For the same reason it was perfectly within the competence of the Full Court (administrative side) of the High Court to reject, accept or accept with modification the recommendations made by the Special Committee re scales. It is now well-settled that financial implication is a relevant factor for accepting a recommendation for revision of pay. Teachers of an unaided school are entitled to revised pay scales and allowances on the basis of recommendations of the Pay Commission.
Acceptance of recommendations of Pay Commission–
Government is not legally bound to accept recommendations of pay commission . it is open to the Government to act in a discriminatory manner while accepting the recommendations. A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has held that if the Government accepts the recommendations of the Pay Commission and decides to implement them, it must implement them from the same date in respect of all employees covered by the recommendation and it is not open to the Government to deny the benefit of the revised grade and scale with effect from a particular date ( i.e. Ist January 1973) as in the case of all other persons merely because of some administrative difficulties as the same would be discriminatory. But Paramesweran’ has been distinguished where the two different dates of implementation were recommended for two distinct categories resulting from bifurcation of a department and the distinction was based on relevant criteria of differentiation.
Although the recommendations of the Pay Commission are not binding, the Government cannot arbitrarily refuse to implement the recommendations.
Generally, the recommendations of the Pay Commission are implemented in respect of those employees whose cases are referred to the Commission. If, however, the Government decides to extend the benefits of the recommendations to the government Undertakings then the Court can direct the Government to implement the recommendations in respect of the employees of such undertakings.
Judicial review of acceptance –
The acceptance of the recommendation of a Pay Commission is subject to judicial
review. In other words, when the granting or revision of a pay scale is challenged, it is not enough for the Government to put forward the shield of the Pay Commission recommendation as a defense. It has to justify the basis on which it has acted. Thus, in P. Savita v. Union of India, where the Government of India, accepting the recommendation of the Third Pay Commission, divided the senior draftsmen into two scales merely on the basis of the seniority of one of the groups over the other although they discharged the same functions, the Supreme Court struck down the division as arbitrary and discriminatory. But if there were materials before the pay Commission for arriving at a particular conclusion, then the Courts will not be justified in interfering with its recommendations.
Factors for fixing the pay by Pay Commission –
Ordinarily a pay structure is evolved keeping in mind several factors
(i) method on recruitment (ii) level at which recruitment is made (iii) the hierarchy of service in a given cadre (iv) minimum educational and technical qualifications required (v) avenues of pro motion (vi) the nature of duties and responsibilities (vii) the horizontal and vertical relativities with similar jobs (viii) public dealings (ix) satisfaction level (x) employer’s capacity to pay, etc. Several factors have to be kept in view while evolving a pay structure and the horizontal and vertical relativities have to be carefully balanced keeping in mind the hierarchical arrangements, avenues for promotion, etc. Such a carefully evolved pay structure ought not to be ordinarily disturbed as it may upset the balance and causes avoid able ripples in other cadres as well.” Fixation of pay at the stage which is lower than that of juniors cannot be justified merely on the mode of their entry into the feeder cadre.