Unconstitutional Suspension of Dearness Allowance, Plea filed in Delhi High Court

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The Union Cabinet, in March, had agreed on an average of 4% to 21% growth in Dearness Allowance. However, owing to the Coronavirus, the Finance Ministry decided to put on hold the aforesaid increment until July 2021.

Background

The government of NCT Delhi, in alliance with the Centre’s DA and DR order, issued a similar circular on 24.04.2020.

Despite the rising inflation and prices of essential commodities in Delhi particularly, the Government decided to suspend the DA for its employees. Thus, the petitioners filed a petition before the Delhi High court, challenging the Government’s order.

Petitioner’s Submissions

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The petitioner pleaded that freezing Dearness Allowance violates Article 21 and Article 360 of the Constitution of India. Right to life includes all those facets of life that help to make one’s life meaningful and worth living. Therefore, freezing the Dearness Allowance against rising inflation without any financial emergency seems to breach certain constitutional provisions.

Furthermore, Article 300A of the Constitution states that individuals should not be robbed of property, except by authority of law. And that the right to receive salary is a property that falls within the framework of the Indian Constitution, and the same can only be deprived by the authority of law.

The Disaster Management Act 2005 does not confer any power upon the Government to defer or deny salary at any time during a disaster, as claimed by the petitioner.

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Henceforth, the notification issued by Union of India and Govt. of Delhi dated 23.04.2020 and 24.04.2020 respectively, abuses the powers vested on the central government under section 62 of the Disaster Management Act.

On the above-mentioned circumstances, the petitioner has asked for the Dearness Allowance to be released to the employees and their pensioners immediately. The released Dearness Allowance would give the Health Warriors “a moral boost” while saving us from the pandemic.


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