Delhi High Court seeks DCW response to plea against temporary appointment, unpaid salaries

Delhi HC seeks responses from Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and city government on a plea by lawyers engaged by DCW for inadequate salaries and short-term contractual appointments. The lawyers work in the Rape Crisis Cell and face job insecurity due to the short tenure. They argue for better pay and conditions, as they have not received salaries since December 2023. DCW says it faces funding constraints and has counselors with lower salaries. The court expects the authorities to continue their services and release due salaries. The matter will be heard again on July 3.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 09-05-2024 16:53 IST | Created: 09-05-2024 16:53 IST
Delhi High Court seeks DCW response to plea against temporary appointment, unpaid salaries
  • Country:
  • India

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought responses from the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and the city government on a petition by several lawyers engaged by the commission to work in the rape crisis cell challenging their short-term contractual appointment and ''inadequate'' salaries.

Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to DCW and the Delhi government asking them to file their replies within three weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on July 3.

On a prayer by the petitioners' counsel that the authorities be directed to not take any coercive steps against them, the high court said it is expected that their services would not be discontinued only for the reason that they have approached the court with their grievance.

Regarding non-payment of salaries to these lawyers since December 2023, the court said, "It is expected that the state which is a fair litigant would release the amount due to the petitioners for the period for which services have been rendered by them." Petitioners said they have been appointed by the DCW to work as counsel in the Rape Crisis Cell (RCC) and are posted at various district courts here.

They said the contractual agreement between them and the authorities is short-lived and subsists only for two months, after which they have to approach the department to get it renewed, imparting a sense of uncertainty about their tenure.

"This perpetual cycle of short-term contact subjects the petitioners to constant job insecurity, causing significant mental distress. It is pertinent to mention that many of the petitioners in the present petition are serving as RCC/ DCW counsel since 2016," the plea said.

The petitioners contended they are paid Rs 42,000 per month which is inadequate for the services rendered by them, and this amount is also subject to deduction of tax at source (TDS).

"Despite such harsh appointment clauses, petitioners have not been paid the legally accrued contractual fees since December 2023 by respondents. The non-payment of fees constitutes a breach of contract and contravenes the principles of natural justice and fair labour practices. Moreover, it undermines the objectives of the DCW and hampers its ability to attract and retain competent legal professionals," it said.

Senior advocate Rajshekhar Rao, representing the DCW, said they have counselors working with them who are being paid only Rs 25,000 per month.

He said that on April 29, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi (LG) passed an order directing the commission to terminate all its contractual staff forthwith.

Rao said there are no permanent posts in the DCW as envisaged under the relevant laws and rules, and nothing has been done about it despite several representations to the government.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback