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Revised Pay Scales, Allowances To The Jute Mill Workers: SC Upheld The Verdict Of Tripura High Court

The Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Tripura High Court to provide revised pay scales and various allowances to the workers and employees of jute mill with effect from 01.01.1996. 

The SLP filed by Jutmil and the state government was dismissed on September 4 by Justice J. K. Maheshwari and Justice K.V. Viswanathan’s Division Bench. 

As soon as the news of the rejection of the special leave petition of Tripura Jute Mill reached Agartala yesterday, thousands of former and present workers and their families were jubilant.

As per the recommendations of the 4th Pay Commission, out of 33 PSUs under the State Govt., 32 PSUs were given revised pay scales to the labor employees with effect from 01.01.1996 including various allowances. 

On the other hand, the salary scale of Jute Mill labor employees was revised with effect from 01.04.1999. No allowance was given to them. 

As a result, the jute mill workers were getting Rs 5,000 -6000 less in salary and allowances compared to the 32 PSU workers. 

Officers of jute mill were similarly alleged to have been discriminated against in pay and allowances.

Jute mill officers filed a writ petition in the High Court against this discrimination. The then judge of the Agartala bench of the Guwahati High Court dismissed the writ petition.

A writ appeal was filed against this in the Division Bench. The Division Bench allowed the writ appeal. In the judgement, the Division Bench clearly held that the officers and labor employees of the jute mill were discriminated against in payment of revised pay and allowances. Like other 32 TPSU workers and officers they are also entitled to the revised pay scale with various allowances from 01.01.1996. 

This judgment of the Division Bench was upheld by the Supreme Court as well. As a result, the officers of the jute mill benefited greatly. Each person’s salary allowance is increased from Rs 10 to 12 thousand and each person is to be paid Rs 10 to 15 lakh as arrears of salary allowance.

The workers and employees of the Jute Mill demanded payment of the revised pay scale including allowances from 01.01.1996 to the Jute Mill and the State Govt.

But justice was not served. In 2017, three associations of jute mills filed a writ case in the High Court. The writ petition was decided on 4th September, 2018. 

The then Chief Justice of Tripura High Court Ajay Rastogi directed the state government and Jutmil, the workers and employees of jute mills should be given revised salary scale and various allowances and the dues of every worker and employee should be calculated since 01.01.  1996, and settled within the next six months.

The state government and Jutmil filed a writ appeal challenging the judgment of the single bench.

In September 2022, the then Chief Justice of the High Court Indrajit Mahanti and SG Chatterjee dismissed the writ appeals filed by the jute mill of the state government. 

Justice SG Chattopadhyay wrote a judgment for the Division Bench. All factual and legal questions correctly raised and answered in this judgment. 

The Division Bench in the judgment clearly stated, There is no room for dispute that the labor employees of jute mill are deprived of revised pay scale and allowances as the Supreme Court upheld the observation of the Division Bench of the High Court in the case of the officers. 

Lawyer Purushottam Roy Burman fought the case on behalf of the workers including  Samarjit Bhattacharya and Kaushik Nath. The state government and jute mill allegedly tried to mislead the High Court in the appeal . But the end was not saved. During the course of the case, the retired jute mill workers came to the court every day. Many are sick. Most of them are in financial crisis. EPF pension of Rs 2000 is not sufficient in the high price market. Hope was in the eyes. 

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