Contempt of court petition filed against the state administration on Monday dramatically changed the course of the long-running conflict around the payment of outstanding dearness allowance (DA) arrears to West Bengal government employees.
The Confederation of State Government Employees noted in the petition submitted to the division bench of Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Rabindranath Samanta that the earlier deadline set by the court for paying the DA arrears to the state government expired on August 19 and that the state government is still not moving forward on this matter. Because of this, the petitioner claimed, it amounted to contempt of court.
The petition has been approved by the division bench, and the case will be heard on August 24.
As required by the West Bengal Services (Revision of Pay and Allowance) Rules, 2009, the state government submitted a review petition to the same bench on August 12 requesting that it reconsider its earlier decision from May 22 this year to complete the process of paying any outstanding DA arrears to the state government by August 19.
The confederation asserted that the state government violated the regulations by failing to provide a copy of the review petition to them as a party in the case on Monday when it filed the contempt of court petition.
Recall that the confederation initially requested payment of outstanding DA arrears at a rate of 32% in a petition to the state administrative tribunal (SAT). The state government employees won the SAT decision.
However, the state administration appealed the SAT decision to the Calcutta High Court division bench.
After a protracted legal struggle, the division bench too affirmed the SAT's ruling on May 22 of this year and instructed the state government to finish paying up outstanding DA arrears within three months.