The Delhi High Court on Monday questioned Arvind Kejriwal government for raising the issue of shortage of funds while there are full-page ads in newspapers and refused to provide more time for releasing of arrears of salaries and pension of serving and retired employees of all categories which expire today to North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrMCD).
A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli on Monday also said non-availability of funds is no ground to not pay salaries and pension on time.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi appeared for the Delhi government, 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.
"...The right of the employees to salaries is a fundamental and non-payment directly impinges on their right to liberty..." the court said and deferred the matter for April 27.
However, the NrMCD counsel apprised the court that the pension and salaries of all employees till January 2021 and station workers have been paid till February this year as it has received the amount from the Delhi government but after making some deductions.
On this, the Court questioned the Delhi government for raising the issue of shortage of funds while there are full-page ads in newspapers every day with pictures of politicians.
"...Pointing to the expenses incurred on ads while employees aren't paid," the Court said.
"Is this not criminal? Spending money in these times on propaganda? You will earn more goodwill by paying their salaries first," the Court added.
The High Court Court had recently had directed the Delhi Government to release the current financial year, the remaining amounts due towards BTA to the three Municipal Corporations on the basis of their own revised estimates presented in the Budget for the year 2021-22.
The directions of Delhi High Court were passed by the court while hearing the three Corporations Petition seeking a direction to the GNCTD to pay the outstanding sums of Basic Tax Assignment (BTA) due to them, as per the figures outlined by the GNCTD in its own revised estimates dated March 9, 2021.
The Court earlier too noted that these municipal Corporations have to meet their expenditures towards salaries and other expenditures incurred on a day-to-day basis.
One of the major and important sources of revenue for the Corporations are these contributions made by the GNCTD towards BTA.
The Court also noted that the present petition, along with the batch of petitions, has been preferred by the employees and pensioners of the MCD since they have not been paid their salaries and pensions for a few months in these difficult times.
The Delhi government lawyer earlier had submitted that since the Budget presented for the financial year 2021-22 envisages payment of a remaining amount under the BTA for the financial year 2020-21, in 2021-22, any direction to pay the same in the current financial year would have an impact on the amounts payable towards BTA in the next financial year, i.e., 2021-22.
( With inputs from ANI )
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