New Delhi, Aug 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Thursday asked the Delhi government and North MCD to respond to a plea by the employees of the civic body’s hospitals seeking direction for payment of their salaries which have been due for various months during COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad issued notices to the Delhi government and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NrDMC) on the petition by the Hospital Employees Union.
The plea said the authorities are not paying timely salaries to the Group C and Group D employees of the hospitals and the hospital administration department of the civic body even during the pandemic when their workload has increased manifold and the staff has become more vulnerable to the infection.
Advocate Rajiv Agarwal, representing the hospitals employees union, said while Group C employees have not been paid their salary for May, June and July, Group D employees have not got their dues for June and July.
The plea said it is concerned with the right to life and livelihood of the employees and highlighted the violation of fundamental right of the staff under the Constitution.
The plea said the petitioner is a recognised union of workers working in various hospitals, maternity and child welfare centres run by NrDMC as well as working in hospital administration departments.
There are over 5,000 employees in NrDMC’s five hospitals, Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, RBTB Hospital, Infectious Diseases Hospital, Kasturba Gandhi Hospital and Gurdhari Lal Maternity Hospital, 21 dispensaries, 63 maternity and child welfare centres, 17 polyclinics and 7 maternity homes.
“For past five to six years, the Respondent No. I (NrDMC) has made a habit of paying salary to the employees concerned after a delay of two to three months. It is submitted that delay in payment of salary has become a chronic problem with NrDMC,” the plea claimed.
“Before COVID-19 pandemic, the workers were managing their household anyhow, but the pandemic has created manifold problems for them. Owing to their nature of work, they are at a great risk of being infected. 'Many workers have got infected till now and few have succumbed to the disease too. For those who are attending duties, the workload has increased significantly. Despite working in such a challenging time, the workers are not being paid their salary in time,” it said.
The plea said the employees and union made various representations for payment of salaries in June and July but no action has been taken by the authorities.
It said the union and employees, considering their responsibility to other citizens, are not resorting to coercive industrial actions such as strike and are seeking indulgence of the court.
Besides direction for payment of salaries, the employees have also sought for imposing exemplary costs on the authorities and pay the same to the workers to compensate their monetary loss and agony. PTI SKV HMP SA