MACP Scheme – Fulfilment Of Pre-Promotional Norms For Grant Of Financial Upgradation Not Applicable On CAPF – SC
The Supreme Court while adjudicating upon issues involved in the Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme (MACP) has observed that the fulfillment of pre-promotional norms for the grant of financial upgradation to the Central Armed Forces is not applicable on them, hence they are entitled to financial upgradation under the MACP Scheme.
The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela M. Trivedi held –
"The third issue, which relates to the fulfilment of pre-promotional norms for grant of financial upgradation, is decided against the appellant-Union of India to the extent that this would not be insisted in the case of the Central Armed Forces personnel where, for administrative or other reasons, they could not be sent or undergo the pre-promotional course."
Petitioners were represented by Advocate B.V. Balaram Das before the Apex Court.
In this case, the Court was hearing a batch of appeals that raised the same three issues all of which were connected and related to the Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme (MACP), namely –
Whether the MACP Scheme is applicable and to be implemented with effect from 1st January 2006, the date from which the Central Civil Service (Revised Pay) Rules, 2008 were enforced, or in terms of O.M. dated 19th May 2009 with effect from 1st September 2009?
Whether under the MACP Scheme the respondents are entitled to financial upgradation equivalent to the pay scale/grade pay of the next promotional post in the hierarchy, or the immediate next grade pay in the hierarchy of the pay bands as stated in Section 1, Part A of the First Schedule to the Central Civil Services (Revised Pay) Rules, 2008?
Whether the respondents, who belong to the Central Armed Police Forces, are entitled to grant of financial upgradation under the MACP Scheme, if for administrative reasons they were unable to fulfil the pre-proportional norms?
- 1st issue
The Bench while dealing with the first issue, placed reliance on the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Union of India v. R.K. Sharma and Others, and also Union of India and Others v. Balbir Singh Turn and Another, which held that notwithstanding O.M. dated 19th May 2009 stated that the MACP Scheme would be applicable with effect from 1st September 2008, the MACP Scheme would be applicable with effect from 1st January 2006.
Further the Court noted that the judgment in Balbir Sing (supra) reasons that he Central Government, on 30th August 2008, had resolved to accept the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission with regard to the personnel below the officer rank, subject to certain modification.
The Court also noted that the financial upgradation under the MACP Scheme is not a matter of pay structure, but an incentive scheme brought into force to relieve stagnation which operates on its own terms
"In our opinion, the Resolution of the Central Government dated 30th August 2008 cannot be read as conferring any right on the government employees. The resolution was not notified and enforced to confer a legal right.7 The Office Memorandum dated 19.05.2009 promulgates and operationalises the MACP Scheme with effect from 01.09.2008," the Court observed.
- 2nd Issue
Concerning the second issue, the Court placed reliance on the judgment of Union of India and Others v. M.V. Mohanan Nair, which explicitly explains the difference between Assured Career Progression Scheme (ACP) Scheme and MACP Scheme.
"In a nutshell, it can be stated that the MACP Scheme, like the ACP Scheme, is an incentive scheme devised with the object of ensuring that the employees who have stagnated for lack of adequate promotional avenues are given benefit in the form of financial upgradation. The financial upgradation is personal, does not amount to regular or actual functional promotion, and does not require creation of a new post. It has no relevance to the seniority position and principles of reservation are not applicable," the Court held.
The Court also held that financial upgradation is granted to only those employees who have not received actual or functional promotion even after the completion of the requisite service period, though otherwise they fulfil the prescribed conditions for promotion.
The Bench further asserted, "Under the MACP Scheme, an employee is entitled to three financial upgradations on completion of 10, 20 and 30 years of regular service to the next higher grade pay in the hierarchy of the pay bands and grade pay as given in Section 1, Part A of the First Schedule of the Central Civil Services (Revised Pay) Rules, 2008."
The Court held that the ACP Scheme stands superseded by the MACP Scheme with effect from September 1, 2008, as a matter of Governmental policy and hence, the employees on and from the date of implementation of the MACP Scheme, cannot claim any benefit under the ACP Scheme.
To hold so, the Court referred to the Joint Committee meetings held on 15th September 2010, 15th March 2011 and 27th July 2012, which were followed by a letter dated 4th November 2013. Minutes of these meetings revealed that some alternatives, including giving of individual option to choose between the ACP Scheme and MACP Scheme, were considered but not favoured as impracticable.
- 3rd Issue
Adjudicating upon the third issue, the Court concurred with the contention of the ASG that the personnel working in the Central Armed Forces would be granted financial benefit under the MACP Scheme on completion of prescribed years of regular service by relaxation in cases where, on account of administrative or other reasons, they could not be sent for participation in pre-promotional course.
"A liberal, pragmatic and ameliorative approach is required to succour genuine grievances of the personnel doing duty for the nation, owing to which they forgo participation in pre-promotional courses. Accordingly, the third question is answered against the appellant-Union of India," the Bench observed.
Thus, the Court partly allowed the appeals filed by the Union of India and impugned judgments to the extent they hold that the MACP Scheme applies with effect from 1.1.2006 and that under the MACP Scheme the employees are entitled to financial upgradation equivalent to the next promotional post, were set aside.
In conclusion, the Court further held that the MACP scheme is applicable with effect from September 1, 2008 and as per the MACP scheme, the entitlement is to the financial upgradation equivalent to the immediate next grade pay in the hierarchy of the pay bands as stated in Section 1, Part A of the First Schedule to the Central Civil Services (Revised Pay) Rules, 2008.
Cause Title - Union of India & Others v. Ex. HC/GD Virender Singh