SC requests Tripura High Court to defer contempt proceedings against state

Legally SpeakingSC requests Tripura High Court to defer contempt proceedings against state

The Supreme Court in the case the State of Tripura vs High Court Employees Association observed and issued notice on a special leave petition filed by the State of Tripura challenging an interim order passed by the Tripura High Court, the order directed the state government to enhance the salary of the staff of the High Court as per the 6th Central Pay Commission as per the recommendations with effect from January 1, 2006.
The High Court also directed the State to pay the salary arrears as well in three monthly instalments starting from January 2022, in an order passed in December 2021.
Earlier, a suo motu contempt proceeding was initiated by the High Court against the State Government for not implementing the directions.
Representing the State of Tripura, Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar told the Supreme Court that the High Court has summoned the Chief Secretary in the contempt proceedings asking him to appear on July 25.
The bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and the justice AS Bopanna observed while issuing notice returnable within 3 weeks on the State’s SLP and requested the High Court to defer the contempt proceedings in the meantime.
In a petition filled by the High Court Employees Association, the high court passed the directions. It was noted by the Single bench of the High Court noted that the benefit of the 6th Central Pay Commission recommendations are given to the staff of the subordinate judiciary.
However, invoking the doctrine of equal pay for equal work, the bench comprising of single judge directed the State to extend the same benefit to the staff of the High Court as well. A writ appeal has been filled by the State before the division bench against the judgment of the single bench. The division bench comprising of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice SG Chattopadhyay passed an interim order on December 21, 2021, the order directing the State to implement the single bench directions with respect to the condition that the employees should refund the payments received as per the directions in case of their reversal.
Representing the State of Tripura, Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar argued before the Supreme Court that the High Court’s directions are contrary to the service rules governing the HC staff. The Counsel referred to Rule 16 of the High Court of Tripura Services (Appointment, Conditions of Conduct and Service) Rules, 2014, it is stated that the payscale of the High Court staff will be equivalent to that of the State Government employees. The State Government employees are not yet given the benefits of the 6th CPC report. Therefore, the same cannot be claimed by the High Court staff.
It was also submitted by Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar that the High Court directions will create a huge burden on the state budget. It was also pointed out by him that the issue regarding the entitlement of subordinate judiciary to 6th CPC recommendations is a subject matter of the case State of Tripura v Tarun Kumar Singh CA. 9198-9199/2018 pending before the Supreme Court.

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