The Calcutta High Court today directed the West Bengal government employees to accept a hike of 15 per cent in dearness allowance (DA), as notified by the state.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty directed that the state government employees would accept the 15 per cent DA hike to be applicable from January 1, 2018.
Noting submissions by counsel for the employees and the advocate general of the state, the bench said the acceptance of the hike in DA would not prejudice their right to claim any arrears or further dues.
The hike of 15 per cent in DA would make the total DA component 100 per cent of basic pay from January 2018, as the state government employees are at present getting 85 per cent of basic pay as DA.
Appearing for the Confederation of State Government Employees, counsel Amjad Ali submitted that the state has been paying DA at the rate of 85 per cent of basic pay since January 2017, which the central government has been paying since 2013.
Referring to Article 309 in the Constitution relating to recruitment and conditions of service of persons serving the Union or a state, Ali submitted that West Bengal government employees were entitled to arrears of DA from 2013.
State AG Kishore Dutta denied any such dues and submitted that there is no arrear of DA as far as the state is concerned.
Counsel Bikash Bhattacharya submitted that the court consider the plight of the state employees "who are saddled with huge pay disparity" compared to central government employees.
The division bench directed that the matter would come up for further hearing in November, when these issues can be agitated before the court.
The high court had on Monday asked the West Bengal government what it was doing to implement Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's announcement to increase the DA for state employees.
The AG had informed the court that the chief minister had announced a 15 per cent DA hike for state government employees from January 2018.
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