The Supreme Court of Bangladesh’s High Court division has ruled that the owners of the newspapers and news agencies would pay the income tax of journalists and other workers.
It also declared the recommendations made by the Cabinet Committee in the 9th Wage Board Award for journalists and workers of newspapers and news agencies regarding income tax and gratuity illegal.
A division bench of Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Md Shohrowardi passed the order, declaring absolute a rule issued in this regard in 2020. According to the Cabinet Committee recommendations, income tax levied on the salaries of journalists, press workers, and administrative employees must be paid from their respective income.
The court also held journalists, press workers, and administrative employees working at newspapers and news agencies of all categories will get a yearly gratuity equal to their one month basic salary, based on their last month’s drawn salary, for their service ranging six months or more.
Senior advocate Dr Qazi Akter Hamid, aided by advocates Rezaul Haque Reza and Didarul Alam, appeared for the petitioners (employees) while Deputy Attorney General Qazi Moinul Ahsan stood for the state.
Mohammad Mahbubuzzaman, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha-BSS Employees’ Union, filed the writ petition on November 23, 2020, challenging the aforesaid two provisions of the 9the Wage Board.
The high court, after holding a hearing on the matter issued the rule on November 25, 2020, asked authorities concerned to explain why it shall not declare illegal and beyond legal jurisdiction the recommendations made by the Cabinet Committee.