Coming to the aid of a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawan left to fend for himself and his family in under Rs 5,000 every month, the Delhi High Court has called for rules allowing 80 per cent of the salary to be deducted from his salary towards defaulted instalments of a medical loan.
A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rekha Palli directed SS Deswal, Additional DG, SSB to file an affidavit explaining the rules which empowers the force to make such “hefty deductions” from the salary of a jawan “leaving a paltry amount of less than Rs.5,000 for him to sustain himself for the entire month”.
In the instant case, SSB jawan Manish Kumar had come to court after finding it difficult to make ends meet in under Rs 5,000 with his weak health post a kidney transplant.
Kumar’s counsel Tushar Sannu brought to the court’s attention the plight of a jawan burdened with mounting medical bills, bleak health and financial conditions aggravated by the SSB deducting Rs 30,000 from his monthly salary of Rs 35,000 towards medical loan.
Mr. Sannu told the court that Kumar was recruited in SSB as a constable in year 2006. For six years, he was continuously given hard postings, including at high altitudes, which affected his health. He was diagnosed with kidney ailment and was kept on dialysis for almost two years from October, 2013 to March, 2015.
As his condition did not improve, doctors advised him kidney transplant and sought medical assistance from SSB for operation at Ganga Ram Hospital which, he said, had high success rate of kidney transplants. The SSB, however, refused any assistance.
He then applied for loan of Rs 11 lakh from SSB Welfare fund and was accorded sanction for loan of Rs 6 lakh in January, 2015, on the condition that it has to be repaid in 60 equal instalments.
Kumar underwent transplant in year 2015 incurring total expense of Rs 11.21 lakh, for which his father also took friendly loan. In the meantime, his father died of brain haemorrhage and Kumar was hard pressed to pay back the loan taken by his father.
In the meantime, the first instalment of Rs.10,000 towards loan from SSB Central Welfare Fund fell due in February, 2015.
After depositing five instalments between July 6, 2016, and June 8, 2017, totalling a sum of Rs 40,000, Kumar could not deposit the balance amount due to acute financial crisis as his medical bills continued to mount and him being the sole earning member for his family.
As a result, a notice to show cause was issued to Kumar on August 1, 2017. In his reply, Kumar requested that monthly instalments may be deducted from his salary and he be given six months' time to pay the entire amount. Even prior to receiving his reply, the SSB had started making deductions from his salary from the month of July 2017, onwards.
“The records reveal that instead of deducting a reasonable amount from the net salary of the petitioner, which is to the tune of Rs.35,000 per month (approx.), the respondents took a unilateral decision to deduct a sum of Rs.30,000 per month from the petitioner's monthly salary towards the defaulted instalments, thus, leaving a paltry amount of less than Rs.5,000 for him to sustain himself for the entire month,” the bench noted.
Noting that the order of deduction was passed by SS Deswal, Additional DG, SSB, the bench “deemed appropriate to direct the Addl. DG, SSB to file an affidavit explaining the circumstances and the rule position, which empowers the respondents to deduct over 80% of the petitioner’s monthly salary on his defaulting in paying back the loan amount in terms of the order dated 27.1.2015”.
It is to be noted that after the matter came up for hearing in the court on January 23, Kumar’s entire salary was released for the month of February 2018.
The same was brought to the court’s attention after which it directed that till the next date of hearing, the Centre shall not make any further deductions from Kumar’s monthly salary.
The matter is now listed for March 14.