Mumbai: Employees of the Octroi department of a municipal corporation do not have any right to receive commission (Mushahira) on compromise fee collected by the department from Octroi evaders, ruled the Bombay High Court.
In a detailed order, the HC observed that the employees cannot demand commission for performing their duties of apprehending evading vehicles and collecting Octroi.
“The employees of Octroi Department perform their duties in apprehending vehicles evading Octroi. For performing their duties, they cannot demand any incentives in the form of commission on the Octroi so collected,” observed Justice Sandeep Marne on November 3.
He added: “... no right is vested in the employee of Octroi Department of the Municipal Corporation to claim any amount towards Mushahira from the Municipal Corporation.”
Octroi tax is levied by civic bodies on certain categories of goods as they enter their jurisdiction.
The HC was hearing a batch of petitions filed by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) challenging the orders of the Industrial Court directing it to pay Mushahira the employees.
1984 decision by PMC to pay commission
On August 27, 1984, the standing committee of PMC decided to pay a commission (Mushahira) on the compromise fees recovered from Octroi evaders. This amount was slated at 20% of the recovery. The PMC discontinued the system in 2008. Despite this, the employees made several representations to the civic body seeking the payment of Mushahira.
The employees approached the industrial court which ruled in their favour and directed PMC to pay the commission within three months, failing which a six percent annual interest rate would be applicable.
The same was challenged by the PMC before the HC.
Justice Marne noted that Mushahira, though not part of salary, is a special allowance or special pay, and would require prior sanction of the state government. No material was presented before the Industrial Court to establish that the State Government granted approval for the Mushahira scheme.
“Merely because the Municipal Corporation might have paid such Mushahira to its employees in the past would not create any right in their favour to continue to receive it. The Municipal Commissioner has rightly discontinued the system of payment of Mushahira, which has no statutory recognition,” the HC added.