A plea was moved on Monday in the Delhi High Court challenging the Centre and AAP government's decision to freeze dearness allowance (DA) of public servants and pensioners in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The petition has contended that the decision to freeze DA of government employees has been taken at a time of rising inflation, especially in Delhi, where there has been an increase in prices of fuel, liquor and essential commodities.
Petitioner N Pradeep Sharma further contends that there is no financial emergency to take such a step as the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) has a corpus of around Rs 3,800 crore and according to news reports the PM CARES Fund has received donations of Rs 6,500 crore.
The petition was mentioned before a joint registrar via weblink and has been allowed for listing before an appropriate bench. The date of listing has not yet been decided, sources in the HC registry said.
The petition claims the decision to freeze DA is in violation of constitutional provisions and the Disaster Management Act does not give the government any power to withhold salary as it also includes dearness allowance.
The plea claims that the Centre and Delhi government have also decided to delay till July 2021 the proposed four per cent hike in DA in view of COVID-19 crisis.
The petition seeks directions to the Centre and Delhi government to "immediately release" DA to its employees and pensioners, saying that it would give a "morale boost" to the "health warriors" who are protecting people from the deadly coronavirus.