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All Kerala Textile Workers And … vs State Of Kerala on 12 August, 2009

Kerala High Court
All Kerala Textile Workers And … vs State Of Kerala on 12 August, 2009
       

  

  

 
 
  IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

WP(C).No. 14388 of 2009(P)


1. ALL KERALA TEXTILE WORKERS AND STAFF
                      ...  Petitioner
2. K. BAHULEYAN, UNSKILLED WORKERS,

                        Vs



1. STATE OF KERALA, REP. BY SECRETARY,
                       ...       Respondent

2. DIRECTOR OF HANDLOOM AND TEXTILE

3. MANAGING DIRECTOR,

4. GENERAL MANAGER, HANTEX PROCESS

                For Petitioner  :SRI.K.S.MADHUSOODANAN

                For Respondent  :SRI.M.K.CHANDRA MOHANDAS

The Hon'ble MR. Justice P.N.RAVINDRAN

 Dated :12/08/2009

 O R D E R
                             P.N.RAVINDRAN, J.
                             ---------------------------
                         W.P.(C) No.14388 OF 2009
                              --------------------------
                  Dated this the 12th day of August, 2009

                               J U D G M E N T

Heard Sri. K.S.Madhusoodanan, the learned counsel appearing for

the petitioners, Sri. P.Nandakumar, the learned Senior Government

Pleader appearing for respondents 1 and 2 and Sri. M.K.Chandra Mohan

Das, the learned Standing Counsel appearing for respondents 3 and 4.

2. The first petitioner is a registered trade union of employees of

the Kerala State Handloom Weavers Co-Operative Society Ltd. No.H.232,

Thiruvananthapuram, otherwise known as HANTEX. The second

petitioner is an unskilled worker employed in HANTEX and a member of

the first petitioner trade union. Ext.P1 produced in this writ petition is the

list of unskilled workers, twenty in number, who are members of the first

petitioner trade union.

3. The second petitioner and the other nineteen persons named in

Ext.P1 list entered service as unskilled workers in HANTEX on 1.6.1990.

During the year 1998 they were drawing salary in the scale of pay of

Rs.3050-5230/-. With effect from 1.1.1998, the scale of pay of unskilled

workers in HANTEX was revised as Rs.3350-5275/- the scale of pay of

semi-skilled workers. The revision of pay took effect from 1.1.1998. The

second petitioner and the other nineteen persons named in Ext.P1 list

were given salary in the higher scale of pay. Later, due to the

W.P.(C) No. 14388/09
2

intervention of the Government, the Director of HANTEX issued an order

dated 6.7.2000 withdrawing the pay revision benefits. Later, by order

dated 5.1.2001, the Managing Director ordered recovery of the excess

salary drawn by the unskilled workers. The petitioners herein thereupon

filed O.P.No.2425of 2001 in this Court. While the said original petition was

pending, pursuant to the decision of the Board of Directors of HANTEX, the

Managing Director of HANTEX issued an order dated 19.8.2002 restoring

the benefits that had been withdrawn by the order dated 6.7.2000. In that

view of the matter this Court disposed of O.P.No.2425 of 2001 by Ext.P2

judgment delivered on 10.7.2008 with the direction that the unskilled

workers represented by the first petitioner union, in whose favour an interim

order has been passed in the writ petition, and who were thereby getting

salary in the scale of pay of semi-skilled workers will continue to draw the

same. Though the Managing Director of HANTEX filed an application

seeking certain clarifications, that application was dismissed by Ext.P3

order passed on 2.12.2008. The second petitioner and the other unskilled

workers who are members of the first petitioner union thereby continued to

draw revised salary from 1.1.1998 in the scale of pay of semi-skilled

workers.

4. In the meanwhile, the Board of Directors of HANTEX that met on

25.7.2006 resolved to grant time bound higher grade promotion to unskilled

W.P.(C) No. 14388/09
3

workers subject to the rider that arrears on that count will be disbursed only

with effect from 1.5.2006. The Managing Director thereupon issued Ext.P5

proceedings dated 21.12.2006 incorporating the decision of the Board of

Directors. Thereafter, Ext.P4 order was passed in respect of the second

petitioner sanctioning him first time bound higher grade promotion in the

scale of pay of Rs.4000-90-4090-100-6090 with effect from 1.6.2000 (on

completion of 10 years of service) and also fixed his pay as indicated

therein. It was further directed that he will be entitled to arrears of salary

and allowances only with effect from 1.5.2006. It appears, the decision

evidenced by Ext.P5 was the subject matter of W.P.(C) No. 17189 of 2007

wherein this Court held that there is not even any consistency in the matter

of payment of salary and other service benefits in the HANTEX. This Court

in that view of the matter directed the HANTEX to take a decision on the

request made by the petitioners therein. As directed by this Court in Ext.P7

judgment, the Managing Director of HANTEX issued Ext.P8 letter to the

General Manager, HANTEX, directing him to compute the arrears of salary

and allowances to be paid to the petitioners in W.P.(C) No. 17189 of 2007

with effect from 1.12.1999, the date on which they completed 10 years of

service as unskilled workers. In this writ petition the petitioners challenge

Ext.P5 to the extend it stipulates that payment of back arrears consequent

on account of time bound grade promotion will be limited to the arrears due

W.P.(C) No. 14388/09
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from 1.5.2006 only.

5. The third respondent has filed a statement contending that the

petitioners have not furnished the details of their entry in service and

therefore they are not in a position to furnish the exact details in the matter.

It is also contended that they were granted time bound higher grade

promotion with effect from 1.1.1998 when their pay was hiked from the

scale of pay of Rs.3050-5230 to 3350-5275. Respondents 3 and 4 contend

that the claim made by the petitioners is therefore plainly untenable.

6. I have considered the submissions made at the Bar by the

learned counsel appearing on either side. Ext.P6 produced along with the

writ petition indicates that 17 Upper Division Clerks working in the HANTEX

were sanctioned time bound higher grade promotion on completion of 8

years of service with effect from 1.12.1999 and that they were also given

arrears consequent on such grade promotion with effect from that date.

However, in the case of unskilled workers, the stand taken by the HANTEX

is that though they are entitled to grade promotion on completion of 10

years of service, payment of arrears consequent on grade promotion will

be given only with effect from 1.5.2006. The contention of the petitioners is

that they have been discriminated against. Ext.P8 produced along with the

writ petition shows that in the case of two other persons who are similarly

placed, the HANTEX has taken a decision to pay them arrears consequent

W.P.(C) No. 14388/09
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on grade promotion with effect from the date on which they became entitled

to it, namely 1.12.1999. From the pleadings and the materials placed on

record, it is evident that as noticed by this Court in Ext.P7 judgment there is

no consistency in the matter of payment of salary and other service

benefits in the HANTEX. While many employees are granted the benefits

of grade promotion with effect from the date on which they were given

grade promotion, it has been denied in the case of the second petitioner

and the other 19 employees named in Ext.P1. They have been given the

benefits of arrears consequent on grade promotion only with effect from

1.5.2006. In my considered opinion, the stand taken by the HANTEX in

Ext.P5 and in Ext.P4 as regards payment of arrears consequent on grade

promotion which is reiterated in the statement filed by the third respondent

is arbitrary and discriminatory. The HANTEX, which is a public sector

undertaking, cannot discriminate between its employees in the matter of

payment of grade promotion benefits. Though respondents 3 and 4 have

a case that what was granted to the petitioners with effect from 1.1.1998 is

not grade promotion, from the materials placed on record and especially

having regard to the statements in Ext.P4 and Ext.P5, the said contention

cannot be accepted. Ext.P4 in categorical terms states that the second

petitioner has been given grade promotion with effect from 1.6.2000 on

completion of 10 years of service. I accordingly over rule the said

W.P.(C) No. 14388/09
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contention.

In the result, I allow this writ petition, quash Ext.P4 and P5 to the

extend they limit payment of arrears consequent on grade promotion only

with effect from 1.5.2006. It is declared that the second petitioner and the

other persons named in Ext.P1, who have been granted grade promotion

with effect from 1.6.2000, will be entitled to payment of arrears consequent

on grade promotion with effect from that date. Respondents 3 and 4 are

directed to compute and pay arrears consequent on the grant of grade

promotion to the second petitioner and the other persons named in Ext.P1

with effect from the date on which they were given grade promotion.

Orders in that regard shall be issued and arrears disbursed within three

months from the date on which the petitioners produce a certified copy of

this judgment before the Managing Director of HANTEX. I also direct

respondents 3 and 4 to take a decision in the matter of payment of second

time bound higher grade promotion with effect from 1.6.2008 to the

persons named in Ext.P1 except Sri. K.Sivan Nair and Sri. K.Sasidharan

Nair, who have retired from service prior to that date. A decision in that

regard shall also be taken within the aforesaid period of three months.

P.N.RAVINDRAN, JUDGE

vps

W.P.(C) No. 14388/09
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