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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday reportedly declined to stay the Ordinance promulgated by the Kerala government calling for the deferring of salaries of its employees up to 25% amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, a Government Order (GO) issued by the state to defer paying 6 days' worth of its employees' salaries for five months was successfully challenged by various employee/service associations.
On observing that, prima facie, salary deferment also amounted to denial of property, Justice Bechu Kurian stayed the GO for 2 months for having been passed without any statutory grounding.
Following the verdict, the Kerala Government decided that an Ordinance would be issued to validate such salary deferment. Specifically, the Ordinance was to provide that the State Government may defer the salary of its employees by up to 25% in the event of a disaster.
A challenge to this ordinance was heard by Justice Kurian on Tuesday. However, following the State's re-assertion that the salary is not being deducted and only deferred, and given that the salary deferrment was now backed by the ordinance, the Court declined to entertain the challenge.