New Delhi, Jan 22 : The Delhi High Court has expressed its disgust over the irresponsible behaviour of Delhi Government and three municipal corporations of not paying the salaries and pensions to employees of civic bodies.
“I cannot tell how disgusted we are with all of you. You are behaving completely irresponsibly and do not care about the employees and retired pensioners,” Justice Vipin Sanghi observed orally.
The bench of Justice Sanghi and Rekha Palli came down heavily on the Arvind Kejriwal-led Government and BJP-led municipal corporations while hearing a batch of petitions relating to non-payment of salaries and pensions to municipal staff.
Employees of the municipal corporations have gone on strike in recent months over the non-payment of their salaries. Thousands of civic body staffers went on an indefinite strike on January 7, demanding that their pay and pension must be released.
The court warned that it will tell MCD employees to not come for work if they are not paid. “Let us see how your houses and hospitals are cleaned. We are ashamed of you, your leaders and the way you are behaving,” the court said.
The bench also noted that the problem has arisen as the Delhi government is sandwiched between municipal corporations and the central government. The court said that the political leaders should be mature enough.
“If things do not change and go on like this, we will not be surprised if the political leaders and people who indulge in this are lynched by the public at large,” the bench added.
The court added, “You are fighting like cats and dogs. We have not asked you to give them any favour. We have only asked you for an adjustment.”
When the issue of shortage of revenue was raked up by Delhi government’s counsel Satyakam, the court in turn asked how the government has huge sums of money to give advertisements in newspapers during the pandemic.
“We will order an inquiry and order by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. You were giving a daily half page and full page in every other newspaper. You have money for these advertisements,” the court said.
The division bench has asked the authorities to clear the outstanding salaries and pensions for October. Direction has also been issued to the corporations to disclose their expenditures since April 2020.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has been asked to file an affidavit on the amount which is liable to be paid to the municipal corporations. The matter has now been posted to February 22 for further hearing.
In the last hearing, the court had pulled up the municipal corporations for non-payment of salaries and pensions, noting that paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and that right to receive pay is a fundamental right enshrined under the Constitution of India.
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