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The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to take a "final decision" on a 2013 letter written by its registrar to the government on grant of washing or dress maintenance allowance to its employees.
A bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer asked the government to decide within four weeks on the October 18, 2013 letter written by the apex court registrar to the then Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Law and Justice.
The registrar, under the instructions of the then Chief Justice of India, had written to the Centre that a sanction be obtained for providing washing allowance to the employees of the top court.
"In the circumstances, we deem it appropriate that the Union of India examines the question afresh in accordance with the scheme of
The Constitution dealing with the employees of the Supreme Court of India and a final decision on the letter dated October 18, 2013 be taken within a period of four weeks and place that decision before this court on August 11," the bench said.
The court noted that substance of the letter was that the employees of various categories of the Delhi High Court were receiving washing or dress maintenance allowance at a rate of Rs 1,250 per month while employees of certain other categories were given this allowance at a rate of Rs 750 per month.
The Employees Welfare Association of the apex court had made a representation to the then CJI requesting that the benefit of washing allowance should also be extended to them as it was given to the employees of the Delhi High Court.
In its order, the bench noted that, "Inspite of the fact that almost a period of four years has elapsed from the date of the said letter, no final decision is taken by the Union of India".
The court also noted that it was admitted by the parties that employees of the top court have a slightly different status than the employees of the Union of India in view of the specific provisions contained in the Constitution dealing with recruitment and service conditions of employees of apex court.
"Prima facie, we are of the opinion that the question did not receive any appropriate consideration in the context of the constitutional scheme of the employment in question," the bench said and fixed the matter for hearing on August 11.
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