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By A Newsman

Kolkata, 29 August: MAMATA Banerjee government has told the Calcutta High Court that its employees have no legal right to demand dearness allowance (DA) from it.

State government made the stand clear by submitting an affidavit on Monday in the division bench of acting Chief Justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre and justice Tapabrata Chakraborty of the High Court.

The affidavit comes following a 13 July directive by the bench in response to a petition filed in February by two trade unions ~ the Confederation of State Government Employees, and the Unity Forum challenging the ruling of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) on 54 per cent pending DA.

SAT had ruled that giving DA was the sole discretion of the government and employees cannot demand the same.

In the affidavit submitted to the HC by state finance department’s deputy secretary Ujjal Goswami, it has been argued that the state was shouldering a debt burden of Rs 3.33-lakh crore and the government spends 1.5 times more than its revenue in paying salaries, pension, and in paying interest to the huge debt.

Despite this, the state government has been releasing DA to the employees from time to time to the extent possible. But the employees have no legal standing to compel the state government clear any or all of the pending DA.

The court has fixed 5 September, Tuesday, as the next date of hearing in the case when it will hear out the petitioners’ stand on the state government affidavit.