Kolkata, Aug 31 (IANS) Calcutta High Court on Friday set aside a ruling by the state administrative tribunal (SAT) on dearness allowance of the state government employees and asked it to wrap up the matter within the next two months by reconsidering certain aspects of the issue in the light of existing law.
The division bench comprising of Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice S.B. Saraf observed that getting DA has become a legal right of the government employees after the introduction of Revision of Pay and Allowances (ROPA) rule 2009.
In 2016, SAT had ruled the DA was a type of donation given by the state government and not a legal right of the government employees.
“When the first case was filed, SAT said that Dearness Allowance (DA) is a form of donation by the states government and it will be granted as per the government’s wish. The division bench of Calcutta High Court today scrapped the ruling,” state government employees’ counsel Amjad Ali told the media here.
“The court has also asked the SAT to decide whether State government employees will get DA at the same rate with the Central government employees and whether giving different rates to the state government employees posted in Delhi and Chennai is justified,” he said.
The division bench observed that the central government fixes DA of its employees across the country at the same rate without discriminating on the place of posting.
“It is true that in Delhi and Chennai, DA has been given as per the rate of Central Government. The allowance is decided on the basis of All India Consumer Price Index. Tripura and other State governments also give DA based on the same rate as that of the Central government,” the counsel added.
Pointing out that SAT has not invited affidavits from the state government with regard to its claim, the bench directed the West Bengal government to file an affidavit before SAT within three weeks and observed that the petitioners will be allowed to file their reply to the state government’s affidavit within another week after that.
“It is a historic victory for the state employees. The way DA was given at certain Bengal districts, it hampered the social dignity of the government employees. But after today’s verdict, it is not donation anymore, it is our legal right,” Petitioner Shyamal Kr Mitra added.