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CAT CHANDIGARH BENCH JUDGMENT ON GDS BONUS CEILING

CAT ORDERED THAT THE GDS ARE ENTITLED FOR 3500/- PLB
AND ANY RECOVERY MADE FROM GDS SHALL BE REFUNDED
WITHIN ONE MONTH

The judgment:-

CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL
CHANDIGARH BENCH.

O.A NO.256/PB/2009

Date of order: 8.5.2009

CORAM: HON'BLE MRs. SHYAMA DOGRA, MEMBER (J) HON'BLE MR.
KHUSHIRAM,
MEMBER (A)

1. All India Postal E.D. Employees Union, (Pb. Circle Amritsar through
Sh. Lakhwinderpal Singh, Circle Secretary.

2. Lakhwinderpal Singh Circle Secretary, All India Postal E.D.
Employees Union (Pb. Circle) Northern Railway Workshop Post
Office, Amritsar.

3. Joginder Singh Rayat, Branch Postmaster, V&PO Kitna, Via
Moranwali, Distt. Hoshiarpur, Divisional Secretary, Hoshiarpur
Division, All India Postal E.D. Employees (Pb. Circle).

4. Jarnail Singh, EDDR, Branch Office, Kotla Nihang, Head Office,
Ropar, Divisional Secretary (Chandigarh Division) All India Postal
E.D. Employees Union (Pb. Circle) Amritsar.

……………Applicants

Versus

1. Union of India through the Secretary, Govt. of India, Ministry of
Communications & IT., Deptt. of Posts, Dak Bhawan, Sansad Marg.
New Delhi.
2. Director General, Govt. of India, Ministry of Communications,
Deptt. of Posts, Dak Bhawan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi.
3. Chief Postmaster General, Pb. Circle, Chandigarh.
4. Sr. Supdt. Post Office, Amritsar.
5. Sr. Supdt. Post Offices, Hoshiarpur.
6. Sr. Supdt Post Offices, Ropar.
Respondents.
For the applicant- Mr. Madan Mohan, Advocate
For the respondents- Mr. Rohit Sharma vice Mr. Deepak Adhihotri,
Advocate

ORDER

Hon'ble Mrs Shyama Dogra, Member (J):

This Application has been filed by the All India Postal E.D.
Employees Union through its Circle Secretary Sh. Lakhwinder Singh,
and two other bearers of the Union. Their grouse is that the
respondents are making recovery of the Productivity Linked Bonus
('PLB' for short) paid to EDDAs for the years 2006-07 and 2007-08 in
view of the order at Annexure A-1 dated 9.2.2009. They have,
therefore, prayed for quashing of Annexure A-1 and for a declaration
that the applicants are entitled to grant of PLB as before without any
discrimination.

Applications have pleaded that Gramin Dak Sevaks throughout India
are being paid adhoc Productivity linked bonus year after year like
other regular employees and accordingly they were paid bonus for
the years 2006-07 and 2007-08. But respondent No.1 has issued
letter dated 9.2.2009 as at Annexure A-1, whereby, it has been
clarified that the orders of Ministry of Finance dated 10.10.08
regarding payment of bonus are applicable to eligible central
Government departmental employees only. The case of the
applicants is that the respondents are not considering GDS
employees as Central Govt. employees and on this basis; they are
going to recover the payment of bonus made to them. Placing
reliance on a judgment of the Hon'ble Apex court in the case of
Union of India and others vs. Kameshwar Prasad- 1998 SCC (L&S)
447, the applicants claim that they are government employees
holding civil posts under the Union and are entitled to protection of
Article 311(2) like other Govt. employees. They are, therefore,
entitled to payment of bonus like other Central Govt. employees,
and the recovery being made from them is illegal, arbitrary and
violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.

The respondents have a reply, stating that the GDS employees are
not entitled to Productivity Linked Bonus. However, they were being
paid bonus in the shape of Ex-gratia. Consequent upon amendment
to payment of Bonus Act 1965, the ceiling of amount was earlier
revised from 1600-2500 and in October,2008 is was revised from
2500-3500 only for Central Govt. employees and not for Gramin Dak
Sevaks, who cannot claim themselves at par with Central Govt.
employees. However, payment of Ex-gratia at revised rates for the
years 2006-07 and 2007-08 was inadvertently made to GDS working
in Chandigarh and Honshiarpur Postal Divisions in the month of
November/December, 2008. On receipt of various references, the
Postal Directorate New Delhi clarified vide Annexure A-1 that the
orders of Ministry of Finance dated 10.10.08 are applicable to
eligible Central Government departmental employees only. On
receipt of this clarification, recovery of overpaid ex-gratia was
ordered to be recovered in Chandigarh and Hohsiarpur Divisions. In
Amritsar Postal Division, Ex-gratia was not paid on the revised rates;
hence no orders have been issued for any recovery. The
respondents have justified the recovery of overpaid amount of ex-
gratia.

We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and given our
thoughtful consideration to the matter.

It is admitted case of the parties that GDS employees have all along
been paid ad hoc bonus at the same rates, PLB is paid to the Central
Govt. employees. Through letter dated 10.10.2008 (A-5), Ministry of
Finance, Deptt. of Expenditure, New Delhi revised the calculation
ceiling for various employees w.e.f. 1.4.2006 i.e. from the year
2006-07 as under:

Calculation ceiling

Existing Revised
¼emoluments)

PLB in Railways Rs.2500 Rs.3500
PLB in other Deptts/Organizations Rs.2500 Rs.3500
Ad hoc bonus for Employees not Rs.2500 Rs.3500
covered by PLB
Admittedly, the applicants were paid adhoc bonus/ex gratia at the
revised rate of Rs. 3500/- for they years 2006-07 and 2007-08,
which is being sought to be recovered from them on the basis of the
impugned order at Annexure A-1.

A perusal of the order dated 9.2.2009 indicates that it Contains no
reasons for stoppage of Ad hoc bonus to GDS employees or for that
matter recovery such amount paid to them for the year 2006-07 and
2007-08. All that the impugned order says is that orders of Ministry
of Finance dated 10.10.2008 relating to revised calculation ceiling
are applicable to eligible Central government departmental
employees only. It no where says that GDES employees are not
entitled to receive ad hoc bonus and that the payment already
made to them is to be recovered. Rather, they are covered under
the Ministry of Finance order dated 10.10.2008 where by calculation
ceiling in respect of employees and covered under the PLB, has also
been revised from Rs.2500 to 3500. We, therefore, see no
justification for making recovery of ad hoc bonus paid to the
applicants or not paying them ad hoc bonus as usual. In view of
judgment of the Apex court in Kameshwar Prasad's case (supra), it
needs no mention that the EDDAs or GDS employees are
government servants holding civil post under Union of India and
they are entitled to protection of Article 311(2) of the Constitution.

In view of above discussion, the OA is allowed and the applicants
are held entitled to grant of ad hoc bonus for the years 2006-07 and
2007-08 at the revised calculation ceiling mentioned in the order
dated 10.10.08 (A-5). Recovery, if any, of the said amount made
from the applicants should be refunded to them immediately and in
any case not later than within on month form the date of receipt of
a copy of this order.

No costs.

(KHUSHIRAM) (SHYAMA DOGRA)
MEMBER (A) MEMBER (J)