Mamata Banerjee’s ‘don’t bark’ advice to govt employees unfortunate: Calcutta HC
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Mamata Banerjee’s ‘don’t bark’ advice to govt employees unfortunate: Calcutta HC

kolkata Updated: Sep 11, 2017 23:31 IST
Mamata Banerjee,West Bengal CM,Calcutta high court

The Calcutta high court has frowned on the use of the metaphor of barking dogs by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in reaction to state government employees’ demands for a raise in dearness allowance.(PTI)

The Calcutta high court on Monday described as unfortunate West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s preference for the words “gheu gheu” - the vernacular equivalent of the sound of a dog’s bark – while ticking off government employees demanding a raise in dearness allowance.

The court was hearing a case filed by state employees who are demanding dearness allowance (DA) at par with their Central government counterparts. Acting chief justice Nishita Mahtre observed that use of such words was unfortunate.

On September 7 while addressing a meeting of state government employees, Banerjee had said: “Let me tell you, it is useless to bark (to extract financial benefits). You can’t make me do something by exerting pressure.” She told the employees that her government would clear DA backlogs by 2019.

The chief minister used the words “gheu gheu” at least thrice in her speech at Nazrul Mancha.

“Have those, who are barking, found out how a government manages to run under great financial stress? You have raised loans all these years...” she remarked.

Banerjee’s choice of words instantly became a subject of lampooning with people posting photos and caricatures of dogs and calling the canines state government employees standing at the receiving end. Many started posting metaphors, interpreting ‘a dog’s life.’

On Monday, the bench of acting chief justice Mahtre and justice Tapabrata Chakraborty was hearing a case filed by Confederation of State Government Employees, a frontal organisation of the Congress, and the Left’s government employees’ unions. The unions questioned the state’s decision to pay them 55% less DA than the Centre.

When the case came up for hearing, advocate general Kishore Dutta told the court that the chief minister announced 15% hike in DA on September 7 which will be effective from January 2018.

Chief justice Mahtre told the advocate general that she would hear the case again on Wednesday and copy of the official notification on this hike should be submitted by then.

At this point counsel Sardar Amjad Ali, who is representing the employees, mentioned the chief minister’s comment on barking by dogs. Chief justice Mahtre said, “The use of such set of words is unfortunate.”

While announcing the hike in DA, Banerjee had said, “We give DA to our employees every January. We announced a hike in DA by 10% which was applicable from January 1, 2017,” she said. This hike will cost the state exchequer an additional Rs 4,500 crore, she added.

After this 15 per cent hike, the difference in DA given to Central and state employees will come down to 40%.

First Published: Sep 11, 2017 20:00 IST