Published On: Thu, Mar 7th, 2019

Calcutta High Court rejects review petition by Bengal govt challenging Dearness Allowance order

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court Thursday rejected a review petition by the West Bengal government on its order which held that dearness allowance (DA) was a legal right of the state’s employees.

The Calcutta High Court held that dearness allowance (DA) was a legal right of the state government employees.

A division bench comprising Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Sekhar Bobby Saraf rejected the review petition and held that the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) will continue to rehear the employees’ claim for DA as per the Centre’s dearness allowance rate.

The state government had sought review of an August 31, 2018, order by a division bench comprising Justice Debasish Kar Gupta and Justice Sekhar Bobby Saraf which set aside a SAT order that said DA cannot be claimed as a right by the state employees.

Justice Kar Gupta has since retired and as such the division bench comprising Justices Tandon and Saraf heard the review petition.

The bench had in the August 31 order held that the employees’ claim for dearness allowance as per the Central government DA rates would be decided by the SAT, which was asked by the court to rehear the issue.

It also told the tribunal to decide whether the state government was justified in paying differential rates to its employees posted in Delhi and Chennai.

The division bench had observed that the Central government fixes DA of its employees across the country at the same rate without discriminating on the place of posting.

The court said it cannot be said that employees in Kolkata were affected differently from inflation compared to those posted in Delhi or Chennai.

Claiming that the high court cannot send back a matter to the tribunal for rehearing, the state government moved the review petition.

During an argument of the case, the state Advocate General had claimed that DA was not a right of the employees, but a benevolence on the part of the government.

The Confederation of State Government Employees had moved the SAT, claiming disparity in rates of DA paid by the West Bengal government and the central government to their respective employees.

The SAT had held that DA was not a right of the state government employees and as such it could not question the rates at which it was paid to them. Challenging the SAT order, the confederation had moved the high court.

The HC observed that as the government accepted the Fifth Pay Commission recommendation of 2009, DA was part of salary and a legally enforceable right.

PTI

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