By A Newsman
Kolkata, 13 July: CALCUTTA High Court has directed the state government to furnish all details on pending dearness allowance (DA) to the government employees within three weeks from today.
The directive has been issued by a division bench of acting Chief Justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre and justice Tapabrata Chakraborty following a petition filed by two trade unions ~ the Confederation of State Government Employees, and the Unity Forum.
The two unions had moved the high court in February this year after West Bengal State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) struck down their plea for a directive to the state government to release the pending DA, which now stands at 54 per cent as compared to Central government employees.
SAT had observed that ruled that giving DA was the discretion of the government and employees could not demand the same.
During today’s hearing at the high court, state government’s counsel Jayatosh Majumdar argued that the petition had no merit and the court should not waste its time on it.
Countering this, counsel of the trade unions, Sardar Amjad Ali said that DA was the right of an employee and the government could not rob that right.
“In 2009, the then state government notified the Revision of Pay and Allowance Rules saying that the government should clear the pending DA to the employees twice a year. But ever since the new government came in power, it showing little desire to pay DA to the employees and thus the outstanding now stands at a whopping 54 per cent,” Ali said.
Going by a rough estimate, with the government not clearing the pending DA, a state government employee placed at the lowest pay scale has been deprived of about Rs 1.62 lakh from 2010-2016. In case of the ones placed at the highest grade, the loss is of about Rs 2.16 lakh. The number of state government employees and pensioners is around 9-lakh.
On hearing the both sides, the division bench directed the state government to furnish all details pertaining to DA of the employees since 2008 onwards. The court has set 10 August as the next date of hearing