Delhi HC seeks govt’s stand on plea by disengaged assembly fellows for salaries

 The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the city government authorities to state by when will they pay salaries to disengaged Delhi Assembly Research Centre fellows for the services already rendered by them.

The counsel for services and finance departments told Justice Subramonium Prasad that payment has already been made to some other disengaged professionals.

Listing the matter for hearing on Friday, the court asked the lawyer to take instructions about when payment will be made to the petitioners and other similarly situated fellows.

The court was hearing a petition by several fellows challenging the letter of termination issued by the authorities.

On September 21, the court had directed that their services with the Delhi Assembly Research Centre shall continue till December 6 and stipends paid to them. However, subsequently, 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.

Last week, 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 clarification that it never considered the issue.

Considering that the festive season was around the corner, the petitioners also sought direction for payment of salaries for the period they have already served till August.

The counsel for the petitioners had earlier contended that the services of the fellows, who were appointed after following due procedure, were 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 directed 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 has added.

“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 09.08.2023,” the petition has said.

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