The West Bengal government might take a concrete decision on the payment of dearness allowance (DA) arrears to the state government employees and make an announcement on this count before November 4, sources said.
Incidentally, November 4 is the deadline for Chief Secretary H.K. Dwivedi and Finance Secretary Manoj Pant to file affidavit in the Calcutta High Court, explaining why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them for not honouring its judgement directing the state government to clear DA arrears by August 19.
According to sources, the state government is now left with three choices. First, the Chief Secretary and the Finance Secretary file affidavit as directed by the court on September 22. In that case, the legal discourse will be based on the arguments mentioned in the affidavit.
Second, the state government challenges the Calcutta High Court order on payment of DA arrears in the Supreme Court, which will lead to another round of legal battle. The Confederation of State Government Employees, which has been fighting a long legal battle on this issue, has already filed a caveat in the apex court on this count.
Third, the state government takes a decision and makes an announcement on arrear payment, and accordingly update the high court in this matter to avoid contempt of court proceedings.
Till now there has been no hint on the part of the state’s legal department about approaching the Supreme Court, and hence the state government employees are hopeful of some positive announcement before November 4.
According to the General Secretary of the Confederation of State Government Employees, Malay Mukherjee, they are ready to fight the matter till the end at the apex court if the state government wishes to.
“We are confident of victory. But I think another legal battle will only add to the delay. Hence, it would be wise on the part of the state government to make an announcement on this count before November 4, and avoid contempt of court proceedings,” Mukherjee said.