The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government and the Administrator of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Employees Pension Fund Trust to pay the enhanced dearness allowance to 86,000 retired employees of the State Transport Corporations prospectively with effect from November this year onwards.
When thousands of buses are being operated by the Transport Corporations throughout the State and time and again the government comes forward to give financial assistance of several crore of rupees to bail out their financial condition, yet their pathetic situation has not improved.
“This past history and the present situation would clearly disclose that all is not well in the very administration and the functioning of the transport corporations”, Justice J Sathya Narayana Prasad observed.
The judge gave the direction while disposing of a sub-application arising out of a contempt petition from the State Transport and Transport Corporations Retired Employees Welfare Association, recently.
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The application sought to re-open the contempt application, which had been filed in 2014 as the Trust had not implemented the orders passed in the original writ petition filed in 2012.
When the judge posed a query to the Additional Advocate-General, whether the DA is being paid to the employees of the other departments, he replied in the affirmative. Since the number of employees are much less in other departments compared to that of the State Transport Corporations, where there are 66,000 pensioners and 20,000 family pensioners, the monthly terminal expenditure to be incurred by the State Government will be Rs 81 crore approximately.
“There is no justification in the above reply given by the AAG and the same cannot be justified or sustained under any circumstances and it is a clear case of discrimination and which is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution,” the judge said.
The judge observed that the pensioners of the State Transport Corporations are being deprived, discriminated against and isolated with regard to payment of enhanced DA.
Why such discriminatory attitude is being adopted by the authorities towards the retired employees of the Transport Corporations, the judge wondered. “Hence, this Court is of the considered view that the financial crunch cannot be a ground for depriving the enhanced DA to the pensioners, since the same has been extended to all the other department employees and even for the serving Transport employees, the judge said.