Notional Increment : Court Order and Decision of Govt for Payment of Arrears

This is all about grant of notional increment for the Govt employees including the personnel and officers employed in Indian Railways. As per Verdict of the Court, payment of arrears would be restricted only to 3 years preceding the date of filing of the case and a belated service related claim will be rejected on the ground of delay and laches (where remedy is sought by filing a writ petition) or limitation (where remedy is sought by an application to the Administrative Tribunal). One of the exceptions to the said rule is cases relating to a continuing wrong. Where a service related claim is based on a continuing wrong, relief can be granted even if there is a long delay in seeking remedy, with reference to the date on which the continuing wrong commenced, if such continuing wrong creates a continuing source of injury.

But there is an exception to the exception. If the grievance is in respect of any order or administrative decision which related to or affected several others also, and if the re-opening of the issue would affect the settled rights of third parties, then the claim will not be entertained. For example, if the issue relates to payment or re-fixation of pay or pension, relief may be granted in spite of delay as it does not affect the rights of third parties.

But if the claim involved issues relating to seniority or promotion etc., affecting others, delay would render the claim stale and doctrine of laches/limitation will be applied. In so far as the consequential relief of recovery of arrears for a past period, the principles relating to recurring/successive wrongs will apply. As a consequence, High Courts will restrict the consequential relief relating to arrears normally to a period of three years prior to the date of filing of the writ petition. Indian Railway has issued an Office Memorandum for all concerned to implement this order as reproduced below-

MOST IMMEDIATE  COURT CASE MATTER

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS
(RAILWAY BOARD)

No. PC-VI/2023/Misc./03-Part(2)                                                    New Delhi, dated:   20.05.2024

The General Managers/ Principal Financial Advisors,
All Zonal Railways & Production Units (as per the standard mailing list)

Sub: Grant of notional increment (as due on 1st July/e January) for the pensionary benefits to those employees who had retired on 30th of June before drawing the same — Clarification reg.

Attention is invited to Board’s letter dated 09.02.2024 whereby it was advised to implement the orders pronounced by various courts of law granting the benefit of notional increment in letter & spirit strictly on personam basis, only in those cases where a contempt petition has been filed by the petitioner subject to any administrative directions received from DOP&T and fulfillment of the condition that the petitioner(s) had completed 12 months of service on the date of retirement on superannuation since the date of accrual of last annual increment.

  • Subsequently, it has come to the notice of this Ministry that Hon’ble Courts/Tribunals are dismissing the new/fresh cases filed by granting the benefit of notional increment to the applicants restricting the payment of arrears to only three (03) years preceding the date of filing of the case instead of payment of entire arrears w.e.f the date of applicability of the notional increment. This principle has been adopted by various Courts/Tribunals relying upon the law laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court in its judgment dated 13.08.2008 passed in Civil Appeal No. 5151-5152 of 2008 titled as Union of India & Ors Vs Tarsem Singh wherein the Hon’ble Court has dealt with the issue of delay and latches / limitation while conferring the relief (copy enclosed).
  • In view of the above, it has been decided that henceforth while implementing the orders pronounced by various Courts! Tribunals on ‘personam’ basis only in contempt cases, payment of arrears would be restricted only to 3 years preceding the date of filing of the case. These instructions would be applicable with immediate effect and strict compliance thereof should be ensured. Past cases already decided shall not be reopened.
  • It is reiterated that the aforesaid benefit of notional increment shall only be restricted to contempt cases. As regards to other cases/ similarly situated pensioners, necessary instructions would be issued separately on receipt of general policy guidelines/clarification from DOP&T.
DA: As above
 (Sundeep Pal)
Executive Director, Pay Commission
Railway Board
Tel. No. 011-47845117
Email add: sundeep.p(ecgov.in
4th floor, Room No. 7

Read more here the Court Order –

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