CAT asks H&ME to correct pay disparity in non-gazetted posts of new MCs

Directed to resolve lingering issue within 6 weeks

Irfan Tramboo

Srinagar, May 29: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has issued directives to the authorities, urging them to resolve the issue of pay disparity faced by non-gazetted employees in the newly established Medical Colleges across Jammu and Kashmir.
The CAT’s decision came in response to a plea filed by 68 non-gazetted employees, specifically storekeepers, clerks and computer operators, from GMC Baramulla and Anantnag.
These employees sought the intervention of the tribunal to ensure that their grievances are addressed in accordance with the recommendations outlined in their application.
During the proceedings, the lawyer representing the applicants highlighted the significant pay discrepancy experienced by these employees in comparison to their counterparts in GMC Srinagar, Jammu and Handwara.
The respondents, as per the order issued, acknowledged this pay disparity through various communications on August 3, 2020, May 25, 2022, and November 28, 2022. The communications recommended rectifying the situation by elevating the pay level from L-2 to either L-5 or L-6.
The CAT Bench in Srinagar took into account the arguments presented by both sides and acceded to the lawyer’s request for the respondents to make a decision based on the statements and recommendations put forth in the application.
Consequently, the Tribunal has directed the authorities to address the pay disparity complaint raised by the applicants within a period of six weeks. The respondents have been instructed to consider the details presented in the application as well as the attached recommendations while reaching a decision.
Notably, the issue of pay disparity is not limited to the storekeepers, clerks and computer operators but also affects the posts of vocational counsellors, health inspectors, radiology technicians, and audio/video technicians employed in the recently established Medical Colleges across Jammu and Kashmir.
The total number of employees affected by this issue is estimated to be nearly 1000, even despite that the matter has remained persistently unresolved since 2019, with the concerned department failing to address it effectively over time.
The pay anomaly first came to light when the aforementioned posts were advertised for the new Medical Colleges. Over the period of time, it became evident that these positions offered a lower salary compared to their counterparts in GMC Srinagar and Jammu.
After the matter was brought to the attention of the authorities, several committees were formed by the concerned department to investigate the issue and propose recommendations for rectification.
However, each time the committee recommendations were submitted, the Finance Department rejected them, citing the absence of recruitment rules as a hindrance to resolving the pay anomaly.
The bureaucratic stalemate resulted in prolonged delays and exacerbated the employees’ frustration. In light of the absence of recruitment rules, the Health & Medical Education (H&ME) department finally established a committee tasked with formulating the necessary rules.
The committee was initially given one month to complete the task; however, almost six months have passed without any concrete progress or updates on its status.