Kerala High Court rejects Territorial Jurisdiction of CAT Tribunal upon the association joining the petition being within the territory, while the Aggrieved Party does not

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The OP deals with promotion and upgradation of allowances under the Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme (MACPS). The respondents relied on the judgement in Govt. of NCT Delhi & Anr. V. S.K. Saraswat & Ors. which specifically considered and distinguished the judgement in Sec., Govt. (NCT of Delhi) v. Grade-1 DASS Officers’ Association relied on by the petitioners as being concerned with the Assured Career Progression Scheme (ACPS), the pre-cursor to MACPS.

The respondents occupy various posts of Loco Pilots which had different pay scales before the implementation of the 6th Pay Commission. The pay scale of some of which was equalised with the introduction of the 6th Pay Commission. The MACPS was also introduced so as to mitigate the grievance of stagnation. The ACPS provided 2 upgradations on stagnation, on completion of the 10th and 24th years. In the MACPS, this has been altered as a financial up-gradation on completion of 10, 20 and 30 years respectively. In the instant case, the applicants were granted the fixation at a higher-grade pay; but however. Later the same was reviewed and withdrawn. MACP did not apply to them since promotion was still applicable to them.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court accepted the contention of the administration that financial upgradation claimed by the applicants under the ACPS would be much in excess of what the officer would gain on actual promotion in the hierarchy.

The court, in this case, settled that

“Under the ACPS, stagnation was with reference to the promotional posts while under MACPS it is with reference to the Grade Pay.”

The court also affirmed that there is no question of a larger benefit being conferred on upgradation, than in a regular promotion, as was the case in Grade- I DASS Officers’ Association.

Another important aspect analysed in this judgement is regarding the maintainability of the petition wherein some of the applicants of the OP lie outside the territorial jurisdiction of the CAT, Ernakulam Bench i.e. in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala HC directes Central GovernmentThe counsel for the applicant cited Rule 4(5) of the Central Administrative Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1987 to claim that it is permissible for an Association to file an application representing the persons desirous of joining together, if one of the affected persons joins the Association in filing the application. They further claimed that the petition is maintainable as the association has its office within the state of Kerala and hence its members could agitate the cause at the Tribunal at Ernakulam, also particularly to avoid different benches of the tribunal speaking in different voices.

However, the court rejected this argument. The petition is not maintainable unless the association as such is not aggrieved. The place of the office of the association that joins the petition is immaterial. The court also noted that benches talking in different voices is a necessary consequence of being constituted at a particular area with jurisdiction confined to that area. Thus, the judgement applied only to applicants who are employed within the jurisdiction of the CAT at Ernakulam.


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