NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday said that getting salaries and pension is a fundamental right of employees or retirees while dismissing a plea by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to extend the time for clearing arrears of staff. A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli rejected an application by the corporation seeking an extension of time to clear arrears of salaries and pension of serving and retired employees of all categories from April 5 to April 30.
The bench also admonished the Delhi government for not making full payment of the amount due towards the basic tax assignment (BTA) saying “it can’t run away from responsibilities”. “The right of employees to get salaries and pension is a fundamental right. The right to get salaries and pension is a part of right to life and liberty under the Constitution,” the bench said adding that non-availability of funds is no ground to not pay salaries and pension on time.“The corporation has employed the personnel to render their services. It is for the corporation to find ways and means to pay its employees,” it said.
The high court had on March 9, directed all the three municipal corporations of Delhi to positively clear all the arrears of pension and salaries of all the ex-employees and serving staff of all categories on or before April 5. On Monday, the North MCD has sought the extension on the ground of non-receipt of BTA from the Delhi government. According to MCD, the amount has been paid but after making some deductions. Its counsel said they have paid the pension and salaries of all employees till January 2021 and sanitation workers have been paid till February this year.
The court pulled up the government for recovering outstanding funds from the corporations according basic tax assignment arrangement during the time of the pandemic.The Delhi government counsel said it was the only government that was not getting grants from the Centre to pay municipal corporations and that they have to manage their own affairs also.
To this, the bench said, “You cannot run away from your responsibilities. If you have a grievance about not receiving grants from the Central government, you file an application and we will deal with it. But this is not a time to make these adjustments and recover money from them. You can’t shrug off your
liabilities. We are not living in ivory towers.”
The bench also questioned the state government for raising the issue of shortage of funds and at the same time giving full-page advertisements in newspapers with pictures of politicians daily.“From where that money is coming. Spending money in these times on propaganda. Is this not criminal? You will gain more goodwill by ensuring payment of salaries to these employees,” it said.
(With PTI inputs)