Supreme Court on Nursing Allowance entitled to Assistant Nurses.
The Supreme Court on Monday restated that the academic or educational qualifications or experience of the employees are valid criteria and effects in the paying structure even though the work undertaken by the said employees is similar in nature more or less. [Union of India and Others v. Rajib Kahn and Others].
The issue before the Apex Court:
Whether Nursing Assistants shall be entitled to Nursing Allowance at par with Staff Nurses even though the qualifications of the two are different.
Facts of the Case:
The Appellants herein Union of India and others were dissatisfied by the Gauhati High Court’s Order of passed on 2nd November 2021 where their appeal was dismissed and the judgment previously passed by the Single Judge was preferred. Wherein the original writ petitioners are entitled to the Nursing Allowance.
The respondents i.e. the Nursing Assistants work under different hospitals established under the Border Security Force (BSF) of India. Them being the original writ petitioners appealed that they are entitled to ‘Nursing Allowance’ at par with the Nursing Staff. This was opposed by the appellants i.e. The Union of India and Others. They stated that the respondents were not entitled to this as they were being paid the special allowance, ‘Hospital Patient Care Allowance’ and were also not at qualified as Staff Nurses.
Decisions by Different Courts:
The Single Judge observed that there were similarities between the duties performed by the Staff Nurses and the respondents. Although, there were differences in their qualifications. The Staff Nurses have to undergo a four years course where as the Nursing Assistants are required to complete a one-year course.
Both the Single Judge and the Division Bench dismissed the appeal and stated that education qualification can not be a ground to deny the “Nursing Allowance”.
Arguments put forth by the Appellant
Ms. Madhavi Divan learned Additional Solicitor General submitted that the original petitioners are not eligible as Staff Nurses due to having different qualifications. Hence, they shall not be entitled to the Nursing Allowance at par with the Staff Nurses.
She further stated that the Nursing Assistants do not have the necessary experience as compared to the Staff Nurses, nor do they possess the registration certificate issued by the State Nursing Council and the Indian Nursing Council. Hence, the High Court made an error directing to pay Nursing Assistants the Nursing Allowance at par with the Staff Nurses.
Reply of the Respondent
The Respondents argued that the High Court did not commit an error in its judgment as both Nursing Assistants and Staff Nurses play an integral part in nursing services. Their duties and performance of work are similar. Hence, they are entitled to the Nursing Allowance at par with the Staff Nurse along with the dismissal of the present appeal.
Supreme Court Judgement
The Bench comprised of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar, did not approve of the viewpoint given by the High Court stating that educational qualification is not a ground for denial of Nursing Allowance. The Court stated that the Nursing Assistants do not possess the relevant experience nor the qualification and are already being provided with ‘Hospital Patient Care Allowance’. Therefore, the Supreme Court quashed the judgments passed by the High Court and the Single Judge. And the original writ petition of Nursing Allowance at par with Staff Nurse was dismissed.
Source: LiveLaw and Bar and Bench