The Supreme Court has directed the Union of India – Respondents in the case to calculate and pay the terminal benefits to the retired government servants including their pension.

A Bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice PS Narasimha that the only issue involved is restricted to the terminal benefits and pension payable in respect of the Appellants in the case which were only three.

In this case, prior to the coming into force of the 5th Central Pay Commission, there existed two distinct posts in the Language Cadre of the Research and Analysis Wing, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India – the Group 'B' post of Assistant Foreign Language Examiner (AFLE) and Deputy Foreign Language Examiner (DFLE). Pursuant to the recommendations of the 5th Central Pay Commission, in January 1999, the pay­scale of AFLEs was revised retrospectively from January 1, 1996. After that, in September 1999, the Cabinet Secretariat ordered for the post of AFLE to be reclassified as a Group 'A' post. For both these cadres, the next level of promotion was to the post of Under Secretary (Language).

The Appellants had joined as Interpreters between April 1985 and March 1990 and were promoted as AFLEs between March 1995 and September 1998. Vide Notification dated March 13th, 2008, the posts of AFLE and DFLE were merged and re­designated as Senior Interpreter. However, a footnote was added therein to the effect that the merger would be effected in a manner that would not have any adverse impact on the career prospects of the direct recruits, i.e., the DFLEs, who would continue to maintain their distinct identity till their promotion to the post of Under Secretary (Language).

Some vacancies had also arisen in the post of Under Secretary (Language) which were the subject matter of challenge before the CAT.

The Tribunal directed the Cabinet Secretariat and the Department of Personnel and Training to reconsider the merger of DFLEs and AFLEs. Promotions to the post of Under Secretary (Language) were put on hold until such reconsideration.

In pursuance of the aforesaid direction, the Cabinet Secretariat, through the Joint Secretary (Personnel) issued an Order dated 2nd September 2008, wherein it was held that the distinction between the AFLEs and the DFLEs remained up till the official merger on 13th March 2008, and thus, no amalgamation of the two cadres had taken place by virtue of the operationalization of the recommendations of the 5th Central Pay Commission.

Aggrieved by the said order, one AFLE filed a Contempt Petition before the CAT which observed that the earlier order of CAT had not been challenged and had attained finality.

Thereafter, another order was passed by the CAT since some AFLEs had filed original applications before it. CAT had allowed their OAs and set quashed the above order.

Aggrieved, the Union of India approached the High Court which was allowed and the order of CAT was set aside.

Appellants then approached the Apex Court.

Counsel Rohit Sharma appeared for the Appellants while ASG Vikramjit Banerjee appeared for the Respondents before the Supreme Court.

The Court observed that it was not necessary to go into the question of law as raised by the parties, since all the Appellants had superannuated and the only issue involved was the payment of terminal benefits to the Appellants including the payment of pension.

The Bench thus directed the Respondents to calculate and pay the terminal benefits to the Appellants and also pension and disposed of the appeal.

Cause Title – R.D. Kaushal & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Judgment