Last year the Modi Government took a decision taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic the three enhancement installments of DA / DR due to the Central Government Employees and Pensioners will be frozen for 18 months. It has come as a shock to the Central Government Employees and Pensioners who were already in crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact many of the Central Government Employees including Railways, Defence, Postal and Hospital Staff were in the forefront shouldering various responsibilities to fight against the spread of COVID-19. They have even contributed one day wages to the “PM Cares Fund”. The Employees, Pensioners and their Organizations were repeatedly demanding to the Government that freezing the DA / DR amongst to illegal recovery, which cannot sustain judicial scrutiny.
It is estimated that the Government has saved Rs. 40,000 crores by not paying the 11% DA due for them. With lot of pressure from the Employees and Pensioners ultimately this year in July the Cabinet has decided to release the 11% DA / DR due to them. However, the same was given only prospectively from 01 st July, 2021. After this the Employees and Pensioners are demanding for their legitimate DA / DR arrears from 01.01.2020, 01.07.2020 and 01.012021.
However, Government is not ready to release the arrears payment. In this situation one of the major Central Government Employees Organization AIDEF has written a Letter to the Cabinet Secretary giving full justification for their demand. It has been told to the Cabinet Secretary by the AIDEF that if the Government is not prepared to release the DA / DR arrears it will result in multiplicity of litigations quoting various Supreme Court Judgments.
www.indianpsu.com accessed a copy of AIDEF Letter dated September 03, 2021, addressed to the Cabinet Secretary. We are reproducing here the contents of the same for the benefit of our viewers.
The Cabinet Secretary,
Sub: Payment of Dearness Allowance/DR w.e.f. 01/01/2020, 01/07/2020 & 01/01/2021 with arrears
Ref: 1) Min. of Finance (Dept. of Expenditure OM No.1/1/2020-EII(B) dated 23/04/2020
2) Secretary/Staffside NC(JCM) Letter dated 16/01/2021 addressed to the Cabinet Secretary.
3) Min. of Finance Dept. of Expenditure OM No.1/1/2020-E.II(B), dt.20/07/2021.
4) Secretary/Staffside NC(JCM) Letter dated 17/07/2021.
5) Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No.399 of 2021 decided on 08/02/2021.
Your kind and immediate attention is invited to the above subject matter and references given therein. We wish to submit this pre-litigation application for your kind notice and with the request to arrange to issue Government orders for payment of enhanced Dearness Allowance to the Central Government Employees/ Pensioners w.e.f. 01/01/2020, 01/07/2020 & 01/01/2021 with arrears.
Details of the case is given below:-
1) The Government of India vide OM dated 23/04/2020 have decided to freeze the additional instalment of Dearness Allowance payable to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to the Central Government pensioners due from 1st jan. 2020, 1st July 2020 and 1st Jan. 2021.
2) Secretary/Staffside of the National Council(JCM) for Central Government Empoyees vide letter dated 16/04/2021 have represented to your goodself and have protested against the Government decision to freeze the DA/DR due to the Central Government Employees and Pensioners, since it is against the accepted recommendations of the successive pay Commissions and demanded that the enhanced DA should be paid immediately.
3) Subsequently in the 48 th Meeting of the National Council(JCM) held on 26 th June 2021, the Staffside demanded that the three instalments of DA/DR due to the Central Government employees and Pensioners should be paid with arrears w.e.f. 01/01/2020.
4) The Min. of Finance vide OM dated 20 th July 2021 issued orders for enhancing the DA from the existing rate of 17% to 28% of the Basic pay w.e.f. 1st July 2021. The increase subsumes the additional installments arising on 01/01/2020, 01/07/2020 & 01/01/2021. Accordingly the arrears of enhanced DA/DR due from 01/01/2020, 01/07/2020 & 01/01/2021 has been denied.
5) The Secretary/Staffside NC(JCM) vide letter dated 17/07/2021 represented to the Cabinet Secretary that since the Cabinet have decided to release the enhanced rate of DA/DR only w.e.f. 01/07/2021, the decision may be reconsidered in the light of the Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India delivered on 08/02/2021 in Civil Appeal no. 399 of 2021. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has upheld that salaries and Pension constitutes the right full entitlement of the employees and are payable in accordance with law. The relevant portion of the Judgment is given below for your kind ready reference.
“The direction for the payment of the deferred portions of the salaries and pensions is unexceptionable. Salaries are due to the employees of the State for services rendered. Salaries in other words constitute the rightful entitlement of the employees and are payable in accordance with law. Likewise, it is well settled that the payment of pension is for years of past service rendered by the pensioners to the state. Pensions are hence a matter of a rightful entitlement recognized by the applicable rules and regulations which govern the service of the employees of the State. The State Government has complied with the directions of this Court for the payment of the outstanding dues in two tranches. In so far as the interest is concerned, we are of the view that the rate of 12% per annum which has been fixed by the High Court should be suitably scaled down. While learned counsel for the respondents submits that the award of interest was on account of the action of the Government which was contrary of law, we are of the view that the payment of interest cannot be used as a means to penalize the State Government. There can be no gain saying the fact that the Government which has delayed the payment of salaries and pensions should be directed to pay interest at an appropriate rate.
We accordingly order and direct that in substitution of the interest rate of 12% per annum which has been awarded by the High Court, the Government of Andhra Pradesh shall pay simple interest computed at the rate of 6% per annum on account of deferred salaries and pensions within a period of thirty days from today. This direction shall, however in the facts and circumstances, be confined to categories 3,4,5 and 6 of GOMs No.26 dated 31 March 2020. We clarify that interest shall be paid to all pensioners of the State at the rate of 6% per annum on the deferred portion, for the period of delay. Having regard to the prevailing bank interest, the rate of 12% per annum which has been fixed by the High Court, would need to be and is accordingly reduced.
In view of the above Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court the law is now established that Government cannot permanently freeze the salary and the pension. Therefore the frozen three installment of DA/DR due from 01/01/2020, 01/07/2020 and 01/01/2021 i.e. additional 4% from 01/01/2020, 7% from 01/07/2021 and 11% from 01/01/2021 may please be paid as arrears to the employees and pensioners.
“Sir, till date the Government has not taken any decision to release the enhanced rate of DA/DR to the Central Government Employees and Pensioners with arrears w.e.f. 01/01/2020, 01/07/2020 & 01/01/2021. In accordance with the 7 th CPC recommendations which was accepted by the Cabinet the existing formula and methodology for calculating the DA Allowance should continue i.e. DA has to be paid based on the average increase of consumer price index once in 6 months. The present decision of the Government to freeze the 11% DA due to the employees is against the accepted recommendations of the 7th CPC. Therefore it is legally justified that the employees are eligible for the arrears of DA and Pensioners are eligible for arrears of DR w.e.f. 01/01/2020 to 30/06/2021.
Moreover, since the law has been already established by Hon’ble Supreme Court that the wages of the employees cannot be permanently frozen by the Government. Therefore as already upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that decisions taken in a specific case either by the Judiciary or by the Government should be applied to all other identical cases without forcing other employees to approach Court of Law for seeking identical remedy or relief. In the past the 5 th Pay Commission have also recommended the decisions in cases where a principle or common issue of general nature applicable to a group or a category of Government employees , would also apply to those employees who have not litigated and not approached the courts. It is also pertinent to mention here that the undersigned have also raised the issue in the meeting of the National Council (JCM) held with Secretary DOPT on 30/07/2021. We therefore request you that to avoid any litigation in this matter it is requested that the Government may issue orders for payment of the three enhanced installment DA arrears due from 01/01/2020, 01/07/2020 and 01/01/2021.
In case the Government of India is not taking any decision to release the three enhanced instalment of DA/DR arrears as requested above, this Federation will be forced to take appropriate legal action to get justice. Therefore this representation/letter of ours may please be treated as a pre-litigation application. In case a favourable decision is not received within a month period, then we shall proceed with appropriate legal action.
Member / Standing Committee of National Council (JCM),
Government of India.