Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday embarrassed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying he has failed to perform his duty as the ex-officio chairperson of the Children Aide Society (CAS), which looks after the observation home in Mankhurd. HC further slammed the CM for failing to ensure employees working in the correction home were paid salaries.
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Sandeep Shinde expressed its displeasure over the fact, despite the CM being the ex-officio chairman, salaries of the employees are not being paid for the last two years. “We are not concerned of any thing else except the salaries must be paid and the orders of this court must be implemented,” the bench added.
The bench was seized with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting the lack of basic amenities in the observation home at Mankhurd. The plea also highlighted the fact that despite a sanctioned strength of nearly 70 posts, there were only 40 employees working at present.
Advocate Nayana Pardeshi, appearing for the petitioner, informed the bench that the government has not paid the arrears of the employees working in the observation home. “Nearly `26 lakh amount is pending as arrears. The CAS used its donations to pay off some amounts to the employees,” Pardeshi submitted.
Having heard the submission, Justice Oka sought to know why there was a delay in paying the arrears as another bench of the HC had in October 2018, directed the government to make the payments. In an unexpected response, the government counsel said, “The observation home was earlier under the women and child welfare ministry and now it has been transferred under the social justice ministry, so there is the delay.”
Interrupting the submissions, Justice Oka said, “This cannot be a ground for not paying the amounts. The government is unable to make the payment of employees of an institution which is headed by the CM and other ministers and authorities. This is really dissatisfying.” The judges accordingly, directed the principal secretary of the social justice ministry to personally remain present in the court on Friday.