Employees of autonomous bodies cannot claim, as a matter of right, the same service benefits on par with the government employees, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
A bench comprising Justices M R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna said employees of autonomous bodies cannot claim parity with the government employees merely because such organisations have adopted the Government Service Rules.
”Whether to grant certain benefits to the employees or not should be left to the expert body and undertakings and the Court cannot interfere lightly. Granting of certain benefits may result in a cascading effect having adverse financial consequences,” the bench said.
The observations were made by the apex court while hearing an appeal filed by the Maharashtra government against a Bombay High Court order directing the state government to extend the pensionary benefits to the employees of Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI).
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The top court said the order passed by the high court directing the state to extend the pensionary benefits to the employees of WALMI is unsustainable, both in law and on facts.
The apex court further said that as per the settled proposition of law, the Court should refrain from interfering with the policy decisions, which might have a cascading effect and have financial implications.
”The employees of the autonomous bodies cannot claim, as a matter of right, the same service benefits on par with the Government employees.
”Merely because such autonomous bodies might have adopted the Government Service Rules and/or in the Governing Council there may be a representative of the Government and/or merely because such institution is funded by the State/Central Government, employees of such autonomous bodies cannot, as a matter of right, claim parity with the State/Central Government employees,” the bench said.
The top court said this is more particularly, when the employees of such autonomous bodies are governed by their own Service Rules and service conditions.
The state government and the autonomous board/body cannot be put on par, the bench said.
WALMI being an autonomous body, registered under the Societies Registration Act, its employees are governed by their own Service Rules and conditions, which specifically do not provide for any pensionary benefits.
The Governing Council of WALMI has adopted the Maharashtra Civil Services Rules except the Pension Rules.
The apex court said a conscious policy decision has been taken not to adopt the Pension Rules applicable to the state government employees.