NEW DELHI: North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Tuesday admitted before the Supreme Court that doctors of its hospitals have not been paid salary since April, but blamed Delhi government for its “lackadaisical” manner in not releasing funds.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, which had sought explanation from it for not paying salary to doctors despite its order, the municipal body said the AAP government had not released the entire amount for the first quarter so far.
“Despite direction from the court on June 17 that salaries and emoluments of doctors and health workers, being in the front line as Covid-19 warriors, are released timely, Delhi government in a very lackadaisical manner slept over the matter and released Rs 27.6 crore under the head of health towards grants-in-aid on July 9. It may be submitted that the period of the first quarter ended on June 30 and the amount under grants-in-aid for the first quarter was to be released before that date. However, there are still pending amounts payable by the government. This shows that Delhi government is not honouring its statutory liability,” the affidavit stated.
Nearly 1,400 doctors work in various hospitals run by the municipal body and their monthly salary bill works out to around Rs 18.6 crore. Alleging that the state government failed to release the funds, the corporation informed the court that it used its internal resources to pay salaries to safai karmacharis, but could not pay the doctors.
“The conduct of Delhi government in not releasing grants-in-aid on time is sought to be highlighted. Due to this, North DMC is facing extremely difficult times in releasing salaries of various employees… Delhi government is still liable to pay a further amount of Rs 135 crore for the first quarter, which ended on June 30. For the second quarter, the government is liable to pay Rs 1,045.2 crore,” it stated
The AAP government, meanwhile, sought three days’ time to respond to the affidavit, which was allowed by the bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan. The court, however, turned down the plea of government that SC should not entertain the petition as a similar case was pending in Delhi high court.
Aggrieved by non-payment of salary for the last five months, a group of doctors had approached the apex court for release of payment.
SC had on June 17 directed the Centre to ensure that salaries of doctors and health workers are given without delay and ordered the government to pass an appropriate order to chief secretaries of all states and UTs to ensure that doctors are paid salary on time.