Finding that the Appellants who were given the benefits have retired from service and recoveries were sought to be made from them though they were not at fault in the grant of those benefits at the time of promotion, the Supreme Court directed that no recovery of the amount already paid to them be effected.

A Two Judge Bench of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Rajesh Bindal observed that "any promotion of a transferred employee from Assistant Grade-II to Assistant Grade-I will not entitle her of any benefit of higher scale or even increment, which is applicable to the employees normally promoted for the reason that these special class of employees were already drawing salary of the higher post which in terms of the policy for inter-university transfer was protected, though they were placed at the bottom of the seniority at the entry level".

Advocate A. Raghunath appeared for the Appellant and Advocate Nishe Rajen Shonker appeared for the Respondent.

In a brief background, the Appellant was appointed as Assistant Grade II at the University of Calicut, where she was promoted to Assistant Grade-I. Thereafter, she was transferred to M.G. University, where she was promoted as Senior Grade Assistant and thereafter, to Selection Grade Assistant. Later, the Appellant applied for an inter-university transfer to Kerala University. As per the policy, the Appellant was placed as the junior most Assistant in the entry cadre of Assistant Grade-II, which was the post on which she was appointed in the year 1988. Even though her pay was fixed on the promotional post, the same was withdrawn based on an audit objection. Hence, the present appeal.

After considering the submissions, the Apex Court found that in terms of the policy provided for inter-university transfers on a reciprocal basis, an employee transferred to another University shall rank junior most in the entry grade of the category concerned.

"Further, the previous service is not to be counted towards seniority and the only protection given is regarding the pay drawn by such employee, where such higher pay was to be treated as personal pay," added the Court.

Going further, the Bench noted that the Appellants had already got three promotions before they got themselves transferred to Kerala University and the salary drawn by them for the higher post was protected, which was more than what was due to Assistant Grade-I, the post on which they were promoted even after being placed as Assistant Grade-II at the bottom of the seniority.

Accordingly, the Apex Court disposed of the appeal and concluded that grant of promotional benefits to the category of persons to which the appellants belong would mean granting them double benefit.

Cause Ttle: Sasikala Devi v. State of Kerala & Anr.

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