The Telangana government promulgated an ordinance in the name of the Governor to make special provision for deferment of any payment in part to any person, institution, employee or pensioner in the event of disaster and public health management in the State.
The gazette notification of the ordinance, issued on Tuesday night and to be in force for six months, said that “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, rule or order or code or judgment or order of any court or tribunal, the government is competent to defer any payment due and payable to any person or institution in part, to the extent not exceeding half of the amount due or payable for such period for the management of the situation arising out of such disaster or public health emergency or otherwise”.
It further said that the government under the ordinance could lawfully defer the pay, pension or remuneration in part, not exceeding half of total monthly pay, pension due to an employee or pensioner in any institution owned or controlled or aided by the government.
This would include aided schools and college teachers, local self-government institutions, statutory bodies, universities, corporations, aided educational institutions and such other institutions. The deferment of payments will be in force for such period for the management of the situation arising out of such disaster or public health emergency.
The State has been paying 50% of salaries to the government employees and 75% of pension after the COVID-19 lockdown came into force in March last week.
Some employees and pensioners associations filed a petition in the High Court against the deferment of salaries and pensions and the hearings are in progress. The HC also directed the government to file an affidavit.
Telangana State United Teachers Federation condemned the government’s decision in a statement and said that unable to give a reply sought by the court in the next hearing on cuts imposed in salaries and pensions, the government suddenly brought the ordinance on Tuesday night. “We condemn the deplorable act by the government,” it said.
The employees associations said that employees and pensioners were facing hardships for the last three months and had been demanding restoration of full payment of salaries and pensions. The ordinance was issued to enable the government continue payment of salaries and pensions in part for several months, they alleged.
The TSUTF demanded immediate withdrawal of the ordinance and payment of full salaries from June.