Calcutta HC orders Bengal admn to clear DA of govt employees within 3 months
KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Friday ordered the Mamata Banerjee administration to clear the pending dearness allowance (DA) of West Bengal government employees within three months.
“The division bench of Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Rabindranath Samanta said that DA is a legal right of the government employees. The court has upheld the order of the SAT (state administrative tribunal) which was passed in July, 2019 while rejecting the writ petition of the state government. The court has ordered that DA would have to be cleared within the next three months,” said Firdous Samim, counsel of the petitioners.
According to estimates shared by state government employees associations, there are around one million government employees and pensioners who could benefit from the move.
In 2019, the SAT had directed that the state government employees are entitled to get arrears of DA within a period of one year, or before giving effect to recommendation of the Sixth Pay Commission set up by the state government, whichever was earlier.
“The Calcutta high court has upheld the order of the SAT. The state government may now move the Supreme Court challenging the order. We are also filing a caveat in the apex court,” said Moloy Mukherjee, general secretary of the Confederation of State Government Employees.
The high court order triggered a war of words between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the principal opposition party the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“This government has money to fund local clubs and puja committees but will deprive government employees. The chief minister had once asked the government employees not to ‘bark’. We welcome this order. This has once again proved that this government believes in giving doles and deprive the people of their due right,” said BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya.
The TMC shot back, saying the BJP-led Centre was not paying the dues to the state government.
“I am not a spokesperson of the state government and hence I won’t be able to comment on its behalf... But the Mamata Banerjee government is running a welfare government and doing all kinds of developments with limited funds. The Centre is not paying the dues. It is around ₹97,000 crore,” said Bengal TMC vice president Jay Prakash Majumdar.
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