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Kerala HC stays government order of deducting six days salary for five months

It was on April 23 2020 that the Financial Department of Kerala Government passed an order that said to cut the salary of six days for five months of State Government Employees with total salary above rupees twenty thousand per month of Kerala.It had been ordered to deduct six days salary from the month of April till August of 2020.

The Kerala High Court on tuesday (29/04/2020) stayed the Order for two months of Government deducting salaries.The matter was considered by the single bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas. "All over the world, the efforts of the State Government are being lauded. Every nook and corner of the state is being taken care of the government.

Several crores of rupees are being spent by the State.However laudable and appreciable the acts of the state may be, when this Court is called upon to decide a matter affecting the vested rights of citizens, the Court cannot ignore
the legal framework",the court said.

While hearing the matter,the honourable justice said that The financial Difficulty was not a ground for it to defer payment for salaries.Prima Facie,deferment of payment of salaries for whatever purposes amounted to denial of property”.He observed that prima facie the law authorising the government to issue such an order was found wanting.He also observed an ambiguity in the order.

Because the Government of Kerala,in its order referred the reason for deducting the salary as not a valid reason.The financial difficulty is not a ground for denial of salaries,and salary denial will lead to denial of property.Salary is every employees right. The stay for the order of Government of Kerala is for two months. The state of Kerala is in need of Rupees Eight Thousand Crore for Covid Prevention works.

Petitioners including Kerala Water Authority Staff association and Kerala Vyudithi Masdoor sangham argued that the right to property mentioned under Article 300A of the constitution (the article says that no person shall be deprived by his property save by the authority of law) includes within its ambit salary as well.They also contended that mo Government can compel anyone to give their salaries whereas they should have been given an option of Voluntary donation.

The Counsel appeared for state of Kerala Advocate General C P Sudhakara Prasad argued that the government order was only to postpone the payment and no one will be deprived of their salaries.He also argued that the Government has the right to defer the payment of Salary as laid out in Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Disaster Act