The Kerala Government had promulgated an Ordinance to empower the government to defer payment of up to 25% of monthly salary of its employees during the times of disasters and public emergencies.
The provisions of the Ordinance titled “The Kerala Disaster and Public Health Emergency (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2020”, are applicable to employees and teachers under the service of the government, government autonomous bodies, local self government institutions, aided schools and colleges, universities, statutory bodies, and such other institutions as may be notified by the government.
Section 7 of the ordinance stated that the deferred payment has to be given back to the employee within 6 months.
Ordinance moved followed by HC stay
The Kerala High Court had stayed the executive order issued by the government for deferment of salary payment. The present Ordinance is brought to fill the legal vacuum which forced the High Court to stay the government order issued on April 23 for deferment of payment of 6 days’ salary of government servants per month for the next five months.
The HC had stayed the operation of the salary deferment order on April 28 for two months stating , there was no statutory support for it.
A single bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas observed
The salary amounted to ‘property’ within the meaning of Article 300A cannot be denied through a mere executive order. The Court also observed that deferment of salary amounts to deprivation of the same. The provisions of the Ordinance are given overriding effect over Court orders.
Read the Ordinance here: