Non-payment of salaries, pensions: HC asks North MCD to give list of assets, bank balance

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New Delhi, May 31 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Monday directed North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (North MCD) to disclose its list of assets and bank balance to examine the issue of non-payment of salaries to the employees and pensions for those retired, saying right to receive dues constitute their fundamental right.

The high court warned it will now start attaching the civic body’s properties as the employees and retired staff cannot wait endlessly for salaries and pensions.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh directed the North MCD’s commissioner to file the affidavit disclosing the assets and bank balances by July 4 and listed the matter for further hearing on July 8.

“We have already said that the right to receive salaries and pensions constitutes a fundamental right and we have already directed the corporations to ensure timely payment of salaries and pensions of their employees and pensioners,” the bench said, adding that, “now we are going to attach your assets”.

The court said either the corporation shall retrench some of its staff or increase its revenue but it must timely pay its employees.

“Give us the list of all your properties and bank accounts. We will now start attaching it and recover the money. We can’t keep waiting. Either you retrench them, send them home, take drastic cuts, off load some weight, we don’t know,” the bench said, terming it as a perennial problem of the North MCD.

“At the outset, we direct North MCD commissioner to file an affidavit disclosing the movable and non-movable assets owned by the corporation along with their estimated values, bank accounts and the amount held in these accounts as on July 1, 2021,” it said.

The high court was informed by the counsel for North MCD that barring teachers and pensioners, all other employees have been paid their salaries till April this year.

On being asked by the court as to how much more money they require to clear the dues, advocate Divya Prakash Pande, representing North MCD, said with Rs 300 crores they will be able to clear the present dues and employees and pensioners will be paid till date.

“But, with this you will be able to clear only arrears, what about the future,” the high court asked.

To this, the counsel said they have a road map to clear the salaries and pensions till June but will have to ask the officers about the future plan.

The court was informed that South MCD and East MCD have paid salaries and pensions to all classes of employees till date.

North MCD counsel said they have given a representation to the Lieutenant Governor to merge the finances of the three corporations while they may continue to operate separately as it will help the North MCD to tide over funds which is leading to non-payment of salaries of employees.

It has also sought the Centre’s help to tide over the funds but no response has been received.

The court said so far as employees and pensioners of the corporation are concerned, they are entitled to release of salaries and pensions and cannot be told by the employers that they can’t be paid as they don’t have funds.

“That cannot be cited as a ground for non-payment of salaries and pensions,” the bench said.

The high court had earlier refused to extend time to clear arrears of salaries and pension of serving and retired employees of all categories. The court had granted time till April 5 to clear all the dues.

It had also directed all the three municipal corporations of Delhi -- East, North and South -- to positively clear all the arrears of pension and salaries of all the ex-employees and serving staff of all categories on or before April 5.

It had said the commissioners of each MCD shall be personally responsible to ensure compliance of this direction.

The court had initially initiated a PIL based on news reports that doctors of Kasturba Gandhi Hospital have threatened to resign as they have not been paid salaries since March last year.

Besides this, various other petitions relating to non-payment of salaries and pensions to teachers, hospital staff, sanitation workers, engineers are also pending in the court. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS