Kerala

High Court order a relief for govt.

Oppn. bid to derail salary deferment Ordinance suffers a setback

The High Court decision against staying an Ordinance promulgated for deferring the salary of employees and teachers has come as a reprieve to the State government that is under severe fiscal duress for meeting its routine expenditure.

The High Court order has stymied the Opposition bid to put the government and politically the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the dock for deferring the salary which it claimed was legally untenable.

The decision to promulgate the Ordinance than going on appeal has proved to be a wiser option. Being hard-pressed for funds to clear the salary and pension bills, the government resolved to take the Ordinance route to avoid a delay and that move seems to have paid well to its advantage.

The Ordinance robed the steam of the Opposition argument that the government’s original decision to deduct the salary lacked legal sanction and also gave sufficient elbow room to act with poise.

Morale booster

Once Governor Arif Mohammed Khan cleared the draft without raising any questions or clarification considering the gravity of the crisis, it came as a morale booster for the government that is busy with the COVID-19 containment efforts.

The government had challenged the attitude of a section of employees who protested against the decision by burning copies of the order. The Opposition had attempted to turn the tables on the LDF by citing similar protests the front had organised earlier and the government had to rush in with the explanation that the objection was not against the democratic right to protest, but the defiance in sharing the huge financial burden imposed by the crisis.

The government also took the sting off the Opposition argument that the decision was imposed without consultations. Ministers cited the rather lukewarm response from service organisations affiliated to the UDF to a ‘Salary Challenge’ call during the previous floods and the current as a case in point for going ahead with their decision.

The court order has cleared the air and set the ground for deducting the salary, but the political row over the Ordinance is likely to smoulder.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:23:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/high-court-order-a-relief-for-govt/article31511193.ece

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