Thursday, 22 February 2018
Verdict given in OA No. 684/2018 reg direct promotion of Supdt to STS
ALL INDIA ASSOCIATION OF CENTRAL EXCISE
Ref. No. 54/AIB/P/18 Dt. 22.02.18
(1) Sh. Hasmukh Adhia,
North Block, New Delhi.
(2) Sh. Ajay Mittal,
North Block, New Delhi.
(3) Ms. Vanaja N. Sarna,
Chairperson, Central Board of Excise & Customs,
North Block, New Delhi.
Sub: Verdict given in OA No. 684/2018 by Principal Bench of Hon’ble CAT on 09.02.18.
With due regards, it is to submit that the said OA was filed by the Association to remove the disparity in the Pay Scale of promotional post for Central Excise/CGST Superintendents with a prayer to permote the applicants and other similarly situated Central Excise/CGST Superintendents and promotee Assistant Commissioners to Senior Time Scale bringing them at par with other similar posts including Narcotics Control Bureau, CSS etc.
2. It is further submitted with due regards that the most of group ‘B’ gazetted officers in the Central as well as State governments are being promoted directly to a Senior Time Scale (STS) post with Grade Pay of Rs. 6600/- in PB-3 (Level-11) including NCB, Directorate of Enforcement in our own department of Revenue, CSS, MPA, MEA, DANICS, DANIPS, CPWD, Railway Board, CSSS, AFHQ, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Forest services, Police services, Foreign Services, Engineering services, State services etc., while Central Excise Superintendents are being promoted (if any) merely to a Junior Time Scale (JTS) post with Grade Pay of Rs. 5400/- in PB-3 (Level-10).
3. As far as the Superintendents of NCB are concerned, there also exists an established parity and relativity between the Superintendents of NCB and Superintendents of Central Excise as the nature of duties, mode of recruitment, functions and responsibilities of these posts are the same. The Superintendents of Central Excise/CGST are also working as Superintendents in NCB since the creation of NCB. NCB was also a part of CBEC under the Department of Revenue and remained its part till 18.02.03. The Superintendents of NCB were sharing common seniority with the Superintendents of Central Excise for promotion to the same post of Group ‘A’ (i.e., Asstt. Commissioner) till 18.02.03. The Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 were amended vide Notification No. I/22/1/2003-CAB dt. 18.02.03 [S.O. 193(E)] to include the NCB in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Even after that, NCB is being monitored by the CBEC/Department of Revenue and the Superintendents of Central Excise/CGST are till now performing their duties as Superintendents of NCB.
4. The mode of recruitment of the Inspectors in CBEC and Intelligence Officers in NCB is also common. The posts of Superintendents in CBEC and NCB are also filled-up through promotion from the Inspectors/Intelligence Officers. The High Power Committee formed by the then Finance Minister also accepted that the Superintendents of Central Excise and the Superintendents of NCB are at par. Further, the Sixth Pay Commission had categorically observed vide Para 7.15.20 of its report that the duties & responsibilities attached to these posts whether in Central Excise or in the Narcotics Control Bureau are similar and recommended for parity of Inspector of the Central Bureau of Narcotics with the Inspector of Central Excise.
5. Further; the Central Excise Inspectors, Inspectors of NCB and Assistants of the Central Secretariat Services (CSS) etc., being analogous posts, are recruited through a common entrance examination conducted by the Staff Selection Commission and in a common scale of pay. Once upon a time, the pay scale of the Assistants was lower than the pay scale of the Central Excise Inspectors but was upgraded at par later on. Like it, the pay scale of the Section Officers was also lower than the pay scale of the Central Excise Superintendents once upon a time but was upgraded at par later on. Eventually, the Inspectors are promoted to the rank of Superintendent whereas the Assistants are promoted as Section Officers. The posts of Central Excise Superintendent and Section officer of CSS are analogous, yet the similarity ends here. Section Officers are promoted directly to the Senior Time Scale post with a grade pay of Rs. 6600/- (Level-11) and reach upto the level of Joint Secretary in the grade pay of Rs. 10000/- (Level-14) whereas the Central Excise Superintendents are promoted (if at all), to the Junior Time Scale post merely with a grade pay of Rs. 5400/- (Level-10). No need to submit that the Central Excise Superintendents are at loss of at least one level in MACPS due to the non-grant of direct promotion to STS post in comparison to other counterparts.
6. It is further submitted that the Superintendents in Narcotics Control Bureau were also granted the enhanced pay scale as well as non-functional time scale on completion of 4 years of service based on the precedent of the grant of the same to the Superintendents of Central Excise.
7. It is also worth to submit that the Superintendents are not only discharging all functions relating to assessment, investigation & intelligence and issuing Show Cause Notice but have also been conferred with the judicial responsibilities of adjudication and also recording statements of various persons in terms of Section 14 of the Central Excise Act, 1944 and Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962. The statements tendered before the Central Excise Superintendent have a legal binding and are treated as a valid piece of evidence by various courts including the Hon’ble Supreme Court just like the statements tendered before a Magistrate. Adjudication Orders are also being prepared by them for the Commissioner level officers. However, though the Central Excise Superintendents are performing more responsible work functions as compared to other group ‘B’ gazetted counterparts yet they are facing the worst career prospects instead of being given better treatment. They are being maltreated despite of being the ‘backbone of the government revenue’. In the actual terms, though they are the ‘backbone of the government’ on account of being responsible to earn the finance for the government yet they are being totally ignored in every matter.
8. Not only the promotion directly to STS post, the counterparts of Central Excise Superintendents are also given benefit of seniority in group ‘A’ at many places in lieu of the service rendered by them in group ‘B’. At many places like various services in Railways, Administrative Services, Police Services, Forest Services, State Services etc., the group ‘B’ gazetted officers are allowed the weightage of minimum of 4 years at the time of entry into group ‘A’ also giving them the due benefit of seniority in lieu of the service rendered by them in the group ‘B’ and promotion to STS post. For example, the officers of Provincial Services in Southern States enter into IAS in a grade pay of Rs. 6600/- (Level-11) within 8 years with 4 years of seniority benefit while the most of the Central Excise Superintendents are unable to enter into IRS in a lower grade pay of Rs. 5400/- even after serving for 35-40 years. They enter (if any) into IRS in a grade pay of Rs. 5400/- (level-10) only and retire at same level without any weightage for seniority in group ‘A’.
9. The rationale behind such a provision of weightage or direct promotion to STS group ‘A’ is based on the fact of the promotee officers having gained rich job experience at the time of working as group ‘B’ officer as compared to direct recruit group ‘A’ officers. But very unfortunately, the Central Excise Superintendents are not being given the said benefit despite of being served for the longest period in group ‘B’ as compared to any other category of the group ‘B’ employees of the Govt. of India.
10. Before the enactment of Indian Customs & Central Excise Service Group ‘A’ Rules, 1987, the group ‘B’ gazetted executive officers in CBEC were allowed five increments in their group ‘A’ pay scale on promotion to group ‘A’ since senior time scale was not available at that point of time. It is also worth to submit that the common entry counterparts of CSS are not only being promoted directly to a STS post (Level-11) from Section Officer (analogous to Superintendent and Level-8) but also reaching the level of Joint Secretary (Level-14). The position in CPWD is even more interesting where an officer with a grade pay of Rs. 4600/- (Level-7) is being directly promoted to a post with a grade pay of Rs. 6600/- (STS) and further directly to a post with the grade pay of Rs. 8700/- (Level-13) from a post with a grade pay of Rs. 6600/-. Thus, they don’t need to serve on a post at Level-8, Level-9, Level-10 and Level-12 for promotion to the Level-13 after entry into a post with merely a grade pay of Rs. 4200/- (Level-6).
11. IAS, IPS & IFS (Forest) are the most elite services in the country and the group ‘B’ officers are provided weightage even on promotion to these services in lieu of the service rendered in group ‘B’. But nothing such happens to the Central Excise Superintendents at the time of entry (if any) to IRS, the same also being one of the elite services of the Govt. of India.
12. Like CSS, there is a provision of direct recruitment in Group-B non-gazetted and Group-B gazetted posts in CBEC. Hence like CSS , the Group-B gazetted officers of Central Excise and Customs are required to be promoted directly to a post having senior time scale and the Group-B gazetted officers completing 1½ of qualifying service be promoted to STS posts as it was done in CSS during 1999. CBEC also recommended to VIth CPC for direct promotion of Group B gazetted officers to STS posts, separate service, time scale after every 7 years etc. vide F.No.A.26017/147 /06-Ad.II.A Dt. 04.01.07 for these officers but Commission kept mum perhaps not making study of the same. The CBEC has again recommended to the Deptt. of Revenue vide OM F. No.A-26017/154//2015-Ad.IIA Dt. 22.02.16 to promote group B gazetted executive officers directly to STS post after publication of the report of 7th CPC.
13. The Hon’ble CAT has directed to take a decision on the representation of the Association by passing a reasoned and speaking order within a period of three months from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
14. In view of the above, it is requested that Central Excise/CGST Superintendents and promotee Asstt. Commissioners may also kindly be promoted directly to a senior group ‘A’ post (STS), i.e., Deputy Commissioner like many other counterparts of them including NCB, CSS etc. and also be given due weightage of the service rendered in group ‘B’.
Encl: Verdict given in OA No. 684/2018.