If both the spouses are working as teachers with aided secondary schools, then only one can claim the House Rent Allowance (HRA) from the Maharashtra Government, ruled the Bombay High Court on Monday.
The HC upheld a circular issued by the Education Inspector of the Greater Bombay which stated that spouses of teachers working in aided schools cannot claim for housing rental allowance (HRA) if their partner has already been allotted government quarters. The court was hearing a petition filed by the Bombay and Suburban Secondary Teachers Association challenging the circular dated January 1, 1993.
According to the circular, if both husband and wife are government servants and if one of them has already been allotted government quarters then the other cannot claim for HRA. The circular was issued by the education inspector of Greater Bombay on the principle that the government cannot pay allowance twice.
Government pleader SM Dandekar argued that the Bombay Civil Services Rules provided that both the spouses are not to be given HRA.
The secondary teachers association challenged the circular in 1993 itself stating that it was arbitrary as it meted discriminatory treatment to one of the spouses who is also entitled to HRA.
An earlier bench of the HC had then stayed the circular. A division bench comprising Justice RM Lodha and Justice Nishita Mhatre upheld the circular.
The court has also directed that all those who have been drawing HRA in the intervening years, while living in their partner's government quarters, must return the amount in twelve monthly installments. The amount can also be deducted from the person's salary or pension.