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HC sets aside Election Commission order on pay revision

Written by: Staff

Kochi, Mar 17 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today set aside the direction of the Election Commission of India to put on hold the implementation of the pay revision of Government employees till the Assembly elections are concluded.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice V K Bali and Justice J B Koshi said that the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission will not stand and there is no necessity for employees to wait to receive the pay revision benefits till the election are over.

The bench gave the ruling while admitting the writ petitions filed by the Kerala N.G.O Association and Kerala Revenue Staff Association, challenging the action of the Election Commission.

The stand of the Election Commission was that the pay revision could not be implemented as it would the violate the election model code of conduct. It submitted before the court that the pay revision would amount to a financial grant and may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power.

The HC, however, rejected this argument and noted that the government had declared its commitment to implement the 9th Pay Commission recommendations in the Budget speech on February 10, 2006. In the 37th paragraph of the Budget speech, the government had declared that the pay and allowances of Government employees for the month of March 2006 will be at the enhanced rates on the basis of the pay revision.

The Court observed that the 9th pay commission submitted its report on February 22, 2006 and it was formally accepted by the government in the cabinet meeting held on March 1. In the circumstances, it cannot be stated that the decision to implement the recommendation of the pay commission was made after the model code of conduct came into force.

Even if the model code of conduct had come into force, the decision to implement the recommendation on pay revision was taken before the announcement of the election schedule and there was no embargo on implementing the report, the court ruled.

It said that the salary revision, as part of the pay revision report, was expected by the employees for a long time and it cannot be stated that the implementation of the report is a financial grant.

Above all, it was not the ruling party alone that was interested in implementing the report. The opposition also wanted immediate implementation of pay revision. On March 15, a joint resolution was passed by the Assembly requesting the Election Commission to remove the embargo, the Bench noted.


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