HC directs BMC to pay salaries to 268 visually impaired employees

Bombay High Court. File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to pay salaries to 268 visually impaired employees, who were not paid during the lockdown, and said, “Denying benefits during the pandemic was ‘illegal’.”

The differently abled employees are members of the National Association for Blind (NAB). A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the NAB through advocate Uday Warunjikar after the civic body did not pay full salaries to the 268 employees.

Mr. Warunjikar said initially the BMC had exempted all its staffers from reporting to work. While the disabled employees were paid in full for the period between March 23 and May 31, in the subsequent months, the civic body began to make deductions for the days that they missed work, the petitioner said.

A circular was issued by the BMC that said permissible leave needed to be sanctioned by senior authorities, and for the days that such leave was not sanctioned, an employee would have to undergo a loss of pay.

The court said, “The circular requires judicial intervention. The circular and its action of withholding pay is held illegal.”

The court said that physically disabled employees, including the petitioner, were eligible for all monetary benefits, and directed the BMC to pay its physically disabled employees, even those ‘who could not report to duty during the pandemic,’ all salary arrears and due monetary benefits.

The Bench said that the payment must be made in two instalments, the first must be paid before Diwali and the second must be paid within 45 days from the date of the first instalment.

The BMC had previously said, “Around 1,150 physically disabled people, including the 268 visually impaired ones, are its staff members, and that it had started bus services for them.”

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 10:59:09 PM |

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