High Court of Karnataka unhappy with govt. over delay in revising pay scales of its employees

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday expressed displeasure with the State government for adopting a lethargic manner in implementing directions of both the High Court and the Supreme Court to grant pay scales of the Central government to the employees of the High Court.

A Division Bench comprising Justice B.S. Patil and B.V. Nagarathna made these observations while pointing out that the government’s action should have ensured the Central government pay scale along with arrears to the employees of the High Court within the four-month deadline set by the apex court on September 18, 2017.

The Bench made these observations during the hearing of the contempt of court petitions filed by Nijaguni M. Karadigudda, a retired employee of the court, and the Karnataka High Court Employees’ Welfare Association, complaining that the State had failed to grant the Central pay scale despite directions given by the Supreme Court.

Though the then Chief Justice, in 2004 itself had revised the pay scale of the High Court employees, granting them pay scale on a par with the Central government and wrote to the Governor in this regard, the issue was embroiled in a legal battle owing to the State government’s actions.

The contempt of court petitions were filed in 2016 as the State government failed to grant Central pay scale despite losing the legal battle even before the apex court. The apex court on September 18, 2017 had dismissed the State Chief Secretary’s petition against the contempt case and had given four months time for implementing the Central pay scale as per the 2011 verdict of the High Court.

However, the State government waited till January 11, 2018 to issue notification granting financial concurrence to grant pay scale to the employees of the High Court. Following this, it was argued on behalf of the employees that they should have been brought under the Central pay scale within the four months but the government has been adopting delaying tactics though the State Advocate General denied delay on the part of the State.

The Bench adjourned further hearing till February 1 while asking the High Court Registrar-General to appear before it with relevant data on pay scale.