7-yr-old Error Corrected, Retired Government Drivers' illegal Wage Hike Withdrawn

Published: 10th July 2015 03:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2015 03:37 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI:Observing that the greatness of a court of law lies in its courage and ability to correct its own mistakes, a division bench of Madras High Court dismissed a batch of writ petitions, spawned by an order of 2008 which was wrongly interpreted.

“Justice is more precious than discipline,” the bench comprising justices V Ramasubramanian and T Mathivanan quoted the principle highlighted by the Supreme Court while delivering the verdict.

The case pertains to a plethora of writs filed by serving and retired government drivers, seeking higher pay scale after an order by a single judge on September 30, 2008, directing the concerned authorities to grant them higher selection grade and special grade benefits.

According to the Tamil Nadu Revised Scales of Pay Rules, 1998, the ‘Selection Grade Scale of Pay’ for this category of employees is Rs 4,000-100-6,000 and Special Grade Scale of Pay is Rs 4,300-100-6,000. The Tamil Nadu Government Department Drivers’ Association had raised a claim for Rs 5,000 and Rs 5,500 respectively, which was turned down by the government in March 2006.

When the case came to the HC, a single judge directed the government to grant the benefit of selection grade and special grade to the drivers of various departments  as per GO 162 dated 13 April, 1998 - under which the revised scales of pay rules were framed.

Though the order did not specifically grant a particular scale of pay to the petitioners, “the Government of Tamil Nadu, quite unfortunately, challenged the order in a batch of writ appeals... inviting trouble for themselves,” the bench noted.

A division bench dismissing the government’s appeals led to a torrent of petitions from both serving and retired employees, all of whom claiming for better pay on the basis of the order. Pointing out that many have already availed the benefit, hundreds sought and received the same for themselves.

“Unfortunately, when batches and batches of drivers queued up before this court, this court found it convenient to dispose of many of those cases even at the stage of admission, without even ordering notices to the concerned departments, on the ground that the issue raised in those writ petitions were covered by the order of the single Judge... and the Division Bench,” the court admitted candidly.

Except for Justice D Hariparanthaman, no judge had gone into the basic question of entitlement to higher pay, pointed out the bench.

Even after going through the documents several times, the court said it was unable to find, “however lenient our approach is”, any legitimate ground to claim higher pay. What they have claimed and got in most of the previous decisions was not what they are lawfully entitled to, it added.  “An illegality will not undergo a metamorphosis and become legal, merely because it received the seal of approval of a Court of law,” the bench added, and dismissed all the petitions.

Stay up to date on all the latest Chennai news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp