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By A Newsman

Kolkata, 05 September: THE legal battle on whether dearness allowance (DA) is the right of the government employees or not remains undecided as the Calcutta High Court today fixed yet another day for further hearing into the dispute.

Mamata Banerjee government, through an affidavit on 28 August, had argued that the employees have no legal standing to demand DA and it is solely the discretion of the state government whether to pay DA or not.

The matter came up for hearing today in the division bench of officiating Chief Justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre and justice Tapabrata Chakraborty, when state advocate general Kishore Dutta reiterated the stand saying that mere recommendation of the Pay Commission does not it bounding on the government to give DA to employees.

During the hearing, senior advocate Bikash Bhattacharya moved a petition saying that some employees attached to the Co-ordination Committee (Left backed) want to be party to the case. Bhattacharya argued that government employees had been getting DA for decades now and it was very much a right for them.

Advocate general Dutta protested and said that since Co-ordination Committee members were not among the ones who had moved the original petition in State Administrative Tribunal, they now cannot be made a party to the hearing in the High Court.

On hearing both the sides, Chief Justice Mhatre observed that while whether DA is a right or not is a matter to be decided, giving DA to the employees to help them cope with inflation has been a convention.

She fixed 12 September as the next date of hearing in the case, while asking the advocate general to submit an affidavit on whatever arguments the government has against making Co-ordination Committee members a party to the case.

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