Upholding the order of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), the Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to release dearness allowance (DA) and corresponding arrears of its employees.
A bench of Justices Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samanta said the allowance be released within three months.
The order said, “The petitioner is directed to release the dearness allowance and arrears DA to its employees at the rate to be calculated on the basis of All India Consumer Price Index average of 536 (1982=100) commensurate with their pay as per the ROPA rules, 2009, as directed by the Tribunal.”
The court also said to get DA is a legally enforceable right of the state government employees. “Such right of the employees to sustain their livelihood with dignity has been fructified or elevated as a fundamental right as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution,” the ruling noted.
The division bench further dismissed the state government’s argument that it does not have financial capacity to pay the due DA. The court also dismissed the government’s policy of giving DA to employees posted at different places.
The state government, however, is mulling over to move the Supreme Court to challenge the bench order. Apprehending the same, petitioner on behalf of the state government employees also decided to file a caveat in the apex court.
General Secretary of State Government Employees Organisation Malay Mukhopadhyay said, “The confederation of state government employees affiliated to INTUC, a trade organisation of the Congress, is fighting the case for years on behalf of the state government of employees. It is a big win for us. For years, the state government had been refusing to meet our legitimate demand.”
The opposition parties also slammed the state government on its stance on DA. BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said, “It is obvious that the state government has to pay DA of state government employees. But this government was not doing this.”
CPIM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “The government can spend money on many unnecessary things but cannot meet a legitimate demand of the employees.”
Ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Joyprakash Majumder said that the state government has no funds to pay DA because the Centre is not clearing the state’s due of Rs 92,000 crore rupees. If the Centre clears the dues, the state government has no problem in meeting the demand of its employees.”