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Salary Challenge verdict: posing admin challenge for Kerala Govt

Salary Challenge verdict: posing admin challenge for Kerala Govt

Thiruvananthapuram: Following the Supreme Court's ratification of High Court's inerim order striking down the pvosion for compulsory donation towards flood-relief by state government employees, the government is now in a predicament about how to set right the irregularity.

As per the court verdicts, the no-consent paper provision is invalid. Now in compliance with that, the government will have to issue a new order replacing the 'no-consent' paper with a 'consent' paper provision. Thus the government will have to obtain consent paper from all employees willing to contribute.

There are reports that the ruling party's followers in the civil service have already got this document from their fold. The earlier order had provision for donate the money from PF as advance, or from the fourth installment of salary arrears. The government move is to treat such papers as a consent paper.

However, those employees from whose salary amounts of three days have been deducted, had not filed any type of consent paper. The bills for October salary were submitted to the treasury after deduction of salary challenge amount, and most of the procedures for the bills are complete now. Finance minister Dr Thomas Isaac is asserting that those who did not file any consent paper will not suffer any deduction. But there has to be a new order to implement this. And when that order is issued, revised salary bills will have to be prepared. There is lack of clarity on this.

What led to the dispute was the insistence on giving one month's salary alone, w ithout provision for lesser or voluntary amounts, and the requirement of 'no-consent' paper. When the opposition had demanded that employees should be free to decide their contribution, and only on the basis of consent paper, the government did not pay heed to that. The government, instead of being consultative, became adamant and went on with modes causing further and further drain on the employees' purse which led to obstinacy on both sides.

When the High Court annulled the no-consent paper, the government approached the Supreme court. About 60 % of staff had responded to the call. The government released the names of those who expressed unwillingness including those from police force, an act widely seen as insulting. There were even instances of such names being displayed on the noticeboard in some offices. The court strongly disapproved of this and barred it. The move to make a mention of the participation in salary challenge in the service book was also dropped due to resistance.

Now, even if a new circular is issued, it remains to be seen how many of those who gave no-consent will be prepared to contribute.

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