BREAKING: Supreme Court issues notice on plea seeking uniform pay & working conditions in High Court's across the Country

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The Supreme Court today issued notice in a PIL filed by All India High Court Employees Federation, seeking uniform pay and other working conditions across all High Courts.

A Division Bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said, "we are issuing notice to all the parties and tagging the matter with other similar petitions". 

The plea filed by the federation has further set out ground, inter alia, which state,

"Because the State Pay Commission or Central Pay Commission is unable to truly appreciate the workload and nature of work, job contents of officers & staff of the High Court. In every Department of the Central Govt. or the State Govt., there is a clear distinction between the nature of work of technical posts, semi-technical posts, ministerial posts and non-ministerial posts."

Calling out the need to stipulate the abovementioned conditions, the Plea notes,

"For example, in a Public Works Department, there would be Engineers, Ministerial Staff & Accounts Staff whose nature of work is separable and each cadre is limited to its own sphere of work. However this is not the case with the employees of High Courts as the nature of work and responsibilities of the High Court employees is multifarious and wide requiring diverse knowledge, expertise and experience. The nature of work in the High Court is special, unique and arduous. It is therefore prayed that the exercise may kindly be directed to be undertaken by an independent commission constituted by this Hon’ble Court," 

Brief Background

Petitioner is an Associations whose members are employees of various High Courts across the country. It is their contention that although the nature of work done by the employees of High Courts, across the country is same, there is disparity in their pay scales and emoluments.

While the initial Basic Pay of Registrar Delhi High Court, as enumerated by the Petitioner, is Rs. 182200, Bombay High Court has a Basic Pay of Rs. 51500, Calcutta High Court is at Rs. 47400, Chhattisgarh at Rs 129700 – so on and so forth. Similarly Assistant Registrar, Delhi High Court has a Basic Pay of Rs. 78800, Bombay High Court it is Rs. 67700, Calcutta High Court – Rs 22570 and Chhattisgarh High Court Rs 56100.

Specific Prayers averred:

i) To issue direction as may be necessary to provide uniform or comparable pay structure/ basic pay scale, emoluments etc and other working conditions to the members of Petitioners across High Courts; 
ii.) to refer the case of the employees of the High Courts throughout India to the Commission headed by Hon’ble Mr Justice P. Venkatarama Reddi or any other Commission as it may deemed fit by this Hon’ble Court;  
a.) to examine and evolve the appropriate pay structure/ basic pay scale and emoluments of the employees of the High Court across India; 
b.) to examine and suggest functional designations for the posts in the High Court according to the job contents and suggest simplification/modification of the cadre structure, if any. 
c.) to recommend permanent mechanism for review of pay and service condition of the employees of High Court across India periodically. 
d.) to examine the current working conditions of the High Court staff and suggest measures to improve the same.

Case Title: All India High Court Employees Federation v. Union of India