Court wrath on CTC boss for staff pay halt

The high court on Wednesday slapped contempt rule against the Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) managing director, Nilanjan Sandilya, for disobeying a court order asking him to pay salaries to 257 employees appointed by the Left Front government in 2010.

Case records state that the Left Front government had appointed 258 casual employees in August 2010 in the CTC, but at half the salary that regular staff in the same posts were entitled to. After six months, these employees started getting full pay. This meant that their jobs were considered permanent.

“The salary was stopped from October 2011 after the Trinamul came to power. Unable to cope with the situation, one of them killed himself. The rest moved the high court in January 2012 to challenge the government’s decision,” Arun Maity, the lawyer representing the employees, said.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had alleged that most of the CTC employees appointed during the last days of Left Front rule were Leftist cadres and ordered the authorities to identify such recruits.

The court had asked the CTC managing director to explain the irregularities — if there was any — in the appointment of these employees and pay their salaries if there was none.

“An affidavit was filed before the court on Wednesday on behalf of the managing director. But the managing director nowhere mentioned the reasons why he failed to carry out the court order. Justice Aniruddha Bose expressed his displeasure and issued contempt rule against the managing director,” a court official said.

“The managing director is directed to appear before this court after eight weeks and clarify why penal action should not be taken against him on the charges of not carrying out the court order,” Justice Bose said in his order.

A senior high court lawyer said if the managing director fails to satisfy the court, “he can be sent to jail or asked to pay a fine or both”.

During a court hearing in April last year, the CTC authorities cited irregularities in the appointment process to explain why salaries were not paid to these 257 employees.

Justice Bose wasn’t satisfied with the argument and directed the CTC to investigate the so-called irregularities. “If you find any such irregularity you can take action in accordance to the law. If you don’t find any, you will have to start disbursing their salaries,” he had said.

“The authorities neither conducted an inquiry nor started paying the salaries even six months after Justice Bose’s order. That prompted my client to move a contempt petition in January against the CTC managing director,” advocate Kaberi Maity, who is assisting Maity in the case, said.

When the contempt petition was heard in January, Justice Bose asked the managing director to file an affidavit stating why he didn’t obey the court order.

BLURB: MD told to explain why he disobeyed high court order asking him to pay salaries to 257 employees appointed in 2010