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The GO was passed to help the State mobilise more funds to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. On Tuesday, the Court stayed the GO for 2 months, opining that the same would, prima facie, amount to a denial of property rights.
The Kerala High Court today clarified that all consequential orders issued by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) , Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and other bodies in line with the State Government Order for deferring a part of the salary of State employees also stands stayed for 2 months.
Justice Bechu Kurian today observed that since the Court has already stayed the main Government Order to defer 6 days' salary of its employees for 5 months earlier this week, no separate order was necessary in the matter for consequential orders.
The observation was made in view of submissions for KSEB by Advocate Kiranlal that a consequential order was issued by the KSEB in line with the salary deferment GO earlier passed.
Inter alia, Kiranlal also submitted that KSEB employees had already contributed Rs 20 crores to the Chief Minister's COVID-19 Fund. On this note, he argued that the salary of KSEB employees may not be deferred.
The High Court was further informed of similar consequential orders being passed by KSRTC and other bodies as well.
In view of these submissions, the Court has now passed separate orders in the petitions, staying all consequential orders passed in line with the Government Order which has already been stayed for 2 months.
The matter has now been posted to be taken up on May 27.
To meet financial difficulties arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kerala government had issued an Government Order stating that the salaries of all government employees who are in receipt of a gross salary of above Rs 20,000 would be deferred to the extent of six days every month from April till August.
On Tuesday, the High Court stayed this Government Order for 2 months, opining that the same would, prima facie, amount to a denial of the right to property without any statutory basis.
Following the verdict, the Kerala Government yesterday intimated that an Ordinance would be issued to validate such salary deferment. Specifically, the Ordinance is expected to provide that the State Government may defer the salary of its employees by up to 25% in the event of a disaster.