Cuttack, December 13: Acting tough on non-compliance with an order issued a year ago, the Orissa High Court on Friday directed the State government to hold the current month salary of the Finance Secretary and the Law Secretary if the order is not implemented by December 21.

The Court was hearing a contempt of court petition filed by 81-year-old Mithuram Bhoi seeking intervention against non-compliance with the direction to the government to pay him of actual pension from February 1, 2020 and all arrears by April 1, 2020. The order was issued on December 12, 2019, The New Indian Express reported.

Bhoi was appointed as work-charged employee under Hirakud Dam Project in Sambalpur who had retired in 1998. He had moved the High Court in 2016 invoking an order related to work-charged employees in 2000. While disposing of Bhoi’s petition on December 12, 2019, the Court directed the government to regularise his service against any sanctioned post and grant him minimum scale of pay as well as pension and other retirement benefits taking into consideration the period during which he discharged his service as a work-charged employee. 

Bhoi had filed the contempt petition when the order was not complied with. The Court had first issued notice seeking reply from the government on November 23. But when the case came up on Friday, the Court found that the government had filed an affidavit taking the plea that the matter requires to be examined and concurred in by the Law/Finance department before obtaining the approval of the government. The State counsel sought more time for compliance of the order.

The division bench of Justice Sanju Panda and Justice SK Panigrahi said, “We direct that if the December 12 order is not complied with by the next date, the salary for the month of December, 2020 of the Law Secretary as well as Finance Secretary of the government will be held up.” The Court has fixed December 21 as next date for hearing on the matter.

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