High court raps Punjab govt for delay in giving revised pay scales to 4 forest officers

The high court has rapped the Punjab government for dilly-dallying on giving revised pay scales to four state forest corporation officers.

The high court bench of justice Sudhir Mittal said that delay in amendment of the bylaws, which led to delay in granting benefits were due to corporation and the state government, the officers could not have been made to suffer on account of the inefficiency of the state apparatus.

The bench remarked that the state is supposed to be a model employer. However, the facts of this case show that they can be more callous than a private employer. “A private employer may justify his actions citing profit but the state does not even have this excuse. It may try to impute callousness to the impersonal nature of the state machinery but such justification can never be acceptable. While considering issues concerning its employees, the state cannot remain impersonal. It must adopt a humane approach so that the employees remain motivated and serve to the best of their abilities,” it said.

The officers had reached high court in 2014 as representations at various levels failed to get any results on giving them benefits of 5th pay commission.

The four deputy forest officers are employees of Punjab State Forest Development Corporation. The corporation recruited them in 2000 to deal with increasing workload at the level of project officers.

Two were recruited and two more corporation got from the forest department on deputation. While in 2010 all employees in the state got new pay scales with the implementation of 5th pay commission but these four got excluded. They approached at various levels but failed to get any relief, which prompted them to approach high court.

The corporation had submitted that after creation of the posts, same was not included in its bye-laws and unless and until the amended bye-laws were approved by the government, revised pay scales could not be granted. Corporation had put entire blame upon the state for delaying approval to the new byelaws.

However, court directed that revised pay scales be given to them from the date in others cases, besides benefits under Assured Career Progression Scheme, 2006. All dues have been directed to be cleared with 10% interest in four weeks.

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