he Bombay High Court, has directed Mumbai Port Trust to pay interest on the delayed salary of nearly 30 months, to an employee, who refused to link his Aadhar Card with salary payment.
Justice Akhil Kureshi and S J Kathawala while disposing of the petition filed by employee Ramesh Kurhade said "Mumbai Port Trust shall pay simple interest @ 7.5% per annum to the petitioner on delayed payment of salary. The same shall be done latest by July 31, 2019."
Kurhade had approached the court seeking direction to Port trust to withdraw the circular issued on December 23, 2015. The circular required the employees of Mumbai Port Trust to submit their Aadhar Card Number for linking it to salary payment. Time was granted till February 15, 2016, failing which their salary from the next month would not be processed.
Kurhade had objected to providing details saying "His employer cannot insist on linking Aadhar Card Number before releasing his salary." Since he did not provide the details, Mumbai Port Trust did not release his salary. During pendency of the petition, said situation continued to prevail. Kurhade had moved the court at a stage when the permissibility of linking of Aadhar Card details with various schemes and payments was under challenge before the Supreme Court.
Eventually, the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in case of K.S. Puttaswamy (Aadhar) Vs Union of India. The Mumbai Port Trust, also later released the salary of the petitioner which was withheld nearly for thirty months, without insisting to link Aadhar Card with salary payment.
Advocate Dilip Sawant appearing for Kurhade argued that "As the salary was withheld without authority of law by the employer, the petitioner must be paid interest on delayed payment of salary."
Advocate Adwait Sethna appearing for Mumbai Port trust contended that the issues were pending before the Supreme Court. There was no clarity on the question of linking aadhar card with salary payments. The Government directed the Port Trust to link the Aadhar Card details of the employees. Kurhade was sole employee out of nearly 800 employees who had objected to this.
The bench while directing the authority to pay interest said "None of the contentions would persuade us to deny the interest on the delayed payment of salary. Firstly, because the petitioner was a sole objector can hardly be a ground to
test the correctness of his stand. Secondly, the respondents are not in a position to show any authority under which they could have withheld the salary of an employee simply because of pending clarity in the proceedings before the Supreme Court, the petitioner refused to divulge his Aadhar Card details. Now that the Supreme court has given its final verdict pursuant to which his salary is also released, the petitioner must receive reasonable interest on delayed payment."
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