The Madras Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), have asked the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to refund the amount recovered from casual labours as excess payment made.
BSNL had inducted casual labourers / temporary status mazdoors for digging work for laying cables and installation of towers. They were considered on a par with the temporary Group ‘D’ employees for the pay purpose and were subscribed to the General Provident Fund and were drawing festival allowance. BSNL later in 2010 revised their salary from industrial pay scale to Central government pay scale and the difference additional amount paid to them was recovered.
The affected casual labourers then approached CAT seeking to set aside the recovery of payment, and requested that their payment be set as per the Industrial pay scale. They contended that they were already drawing less salary and the recovery from 2002 was illegal. BSNL, in their defense said there was scope for such a recovery from employees as they were still in service.
The Bench, comprising of B.Venkateswara Rao and P.Prabakaran as members, ruled that the applicants were granted higher scale of pay erroneously following a decision of an incompetent authority. The workers cannot be held for this fault. The Bench however ruled that the BSNL was at liberty to revise wages of casual labourers.
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