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Gauhati High Court directs Assam Government to enhance duty allowance of home guards

The Gauhati High Court has directed the State Government to enhance the duty allowance of home guards. The court passed this order while hearing a writ petition (WP(C)/4267/2020)

Gauhati High Court

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Aug 2022 4:34 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has directed the State Government to enhance the duty allowance of home guards. The court passed this order while hearing a writ petition (WP(C)/4267/2020) filed by some home guards for enhancement of their duty allowance in terms of the judgment and order dated 11.03.2015 passed by the Supreme Court in the Grah Rakshak, Home Guards Welfare Association Vs State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors case.

The petitioners stated in the petition that they are serving as home guards after being appointed under Section 6 (3) (a) of the Assam Home Guards Act, 1947. They sought enhancement of their duty allowance. The petitioners' counsel said that 23 States in India had already implemented the decision of the apex court in Grah Rakshak, Home Guards Welfare Association (supra) as on date. However, Assam has not implemented the same. In Assam, a home guard gets Rs 9,000 per month.

The Finance Department informed the Gauhati High Court that the Home (B) Department, Government of Assam had submitted a proposal regarding enhancement of duty allowance of Home Guards in the light of the judgment of the apex court. As per the advice of the Finance (Budget) Department, the Finance (EC-II) Department advised the Home (B) Department to place the matter before the Cabinet for their approval. The Finance (EC-II) Department also requested the Home Department to reduce the strength of home guards, so that the proposal became revenue neutral. The Home (B) Department re-submitted the proposal for enhancement of duty allowance of home guards, stating that the reduction of the deployment strength of home guards was not suggested at present, as the department was already deficient in manpower to handle day-to-day policing issues. The Finance (EC-II) Department again requested the Home (B) Department to make the proposal revenue neutral by reducing the number of home guards and consider raising the rates for Public Sector Undertaking deployment. The court was informed that till date, the Home (B) Department had not re-submitted the proposal for enhancement of duty allowance of home guards.

The counsel for the Home Department told the court that several communications had been received from the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding implementation of the judgment of the apex court. The counsel assured that the government was taking necessary steps for enhancement of duty allowance of home guards in terms of the judgment of the apex court.

In the case of Grah Rakshak, Home Guards Welfare Association (supra), the Supreme Court had stated: "However, taking into consideration the fact that Home Guards are used during the emergency and for other purposes and at the time of their duty they are empowered with the power of police personnel, we are of the view that the State Government should pay them the duty allowance at such rates, total of which 30 days (a month) comes to minimum of the pay to which the police personnel of the State are entitled. It is expected that the State Governments shall pass appropriate orders in terms of aforesaid observation on an early date, preferably within three months."

Justice Michael Zothankhuma, while hearing the petition, stated, "In view of the judgment of the Apex Court in Grah Rakshak, Home Guards Welfare Association (supra), the State Government is directed to pay the Home Guards duty allowance at such rates, total of which 30 days (a month) comes to the minimum pay to which the police personnel of the State are entitled to. The exercise should be completed within a period of 3 (three) months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order."

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