Delhi government issued orders for payment of salaries to disengaged assembly fellows, HC told

The Delhi High Court on Friday was informed by the city government that it has issued orders for payment of salaries to disengaged Delhi Assembly Research Centre fellows for the services already rendered by them.

Delhi government counsel for services and finance departments stated before Justice Subramonium Prasad that they have started receiving compliance and that the order does not pertain to the 17 petitioners but for all fellows who worked during the relevant period.

“On November 8, we issued orders to all concerned and on November 9, we wanted compliance from all concerned and we have started receiving compliance. It is not only for these 17 petitioners but it is for all who have worked during this period,” advocate Avnish Ahlawat, representing the two departments, told the court.

In compliance with the court’s earlier direction, she also placed the November 8 order on record.

The court, which has listed the matter for December 6 for further proceedings, was hearing a petition by several fellows challenging the letter of termination issued by the authorities.

It had earlier asked the city authorities to state by when it would pay salaries to the disengaged fellows for past services.

The counsel for the two departments had told the court that payment was already made to some of the disengaged professionals.

On September 21, the court had issued a direction that fellows’ services with the Delhi Assembly Research Centre will continue till December 6 and they will continue to get their stipends. However later, it vacated the interim order on application by the Legislative Assembly Secretariat and other authorities on the ground that the issue is pending before the Supreme Court.

In October end, the petitioners approached the court again and urged it to restore its earlier direction for continuation of their services in view of the top court’s remark that it never considered the issue.

Considering the festival season ahead, the petitioners also sought direction for payment of salaries till August.

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The counsel for the petitioners had earlier contended that the service of the fellows was terminated prematurely in an “unceremonious, arbitrary and illegal manner” in the aftermath of a letter issued by the services department on July 5.

The petition said the July 5 letter ordered that the engagement of the petitioners, for which prior approval of the lieutenant governor had not been sought, be discontinued and disbursement of salary to them stopped.

The letter was kept in abeyance and the assembly speaker “informed the Hon’ble LG that he had directed officers of the Secretariat not to take any action in the matter without his approval” but they were not paid their stipends, it said.

“However, around the first week of August, 2023 they were prevented from marking their attendance by certain Departments. Thereafter, their engagement was discontinued vide the impugned order dated August 9, 2023,” the petition said.

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