Tamil Nadu

Government staff are entitled to interest for delayed payment of salary, says court

Government servants are entitled to interest for delayed payment of salary, the Madras High Court Bench here has held. It also ruled that courts can order payment of interest even in the absence of a specific provision in the service rules since such delay violates the Constitutional right of the employees.

Justice R. Subramanian passed the judgment while allowing a writ petition filed by a 71-year-old retired government servant B. Thirumoorthy of Madurai in 2013.The judge directed the Highways Department to pay interest at the rate of 10% per annum for paying in 2010 the monthly salary due to the petitioner in 1999.

After citing various Supreme Court rulings on the issue, the judge said: “Even in the absence of statutory rules or administrative instructions with regard to interest, the government servant concerned would be entitled to interest under Articles 14 (equality before law), 19 (right to carry on any occupation) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.

“Hence, I have no hesitation in allowing the writ petitions and quashing the impugned order of the second respondent (Director General, Highways Department) rejecting the request of the petitioner for payment of interest for a sum of ₹92,026 being the salary for the period from February 9, 1999 and October 22, 1999.”

The judge agreed with petitioner’s counsel P. Mahendran that the judgments passed by the Supreme Court as well as a Division Bench of the High Court granting interest for delayed payment of retirement benefits to the government servants would squarely apply even in case of delayed payment of salary too.

In his affidavit, the petitioner pointed out that he was actually placed under suspension between February 9 and October 22, 1999 by the then Virudhunagar Collector without payment of subsistence allowance. However, on an application made by him, the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal set aside the suspension order in August 1999.

Subsequently, the Collector revoked the order of suspension on October 1, 1999 and another order was passed on August 17, 2004 regularising the suspension period as service period. However, the salary for that period was not paid for more than a decade until a Superintending Engineer of the department made the payment on October 28, 2010.

Thereafter, the petitioner began making another round of representations to the officials demanding interest for delayed payment of the salary. He also filed a writ petition in 2011 and obtained a direction to the officials in 2013 to consider his representation. The officials, however, rejected his plea and hence the present writ petition.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 9:14:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/government-staff-are-entitled-to-interest-for-delayed-payment-of-salary-says-court/article18065193.ece

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