Calcutta HC: Employers lack Authority to deduct Salary for donation to CM Relief Fund

Snehal Upadhyay-

The Calcutta High Court held that an employer does not have the authority to subtract any portion of an employee’s salary unilaterally under the garb of donation to the Chief Minister Relief Fund.

Justice Amrita Sinha observed that if a donor’s act is involuntary and a result of force, the deduction is unlawful and differs grossly from the donation.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by Adhyapakas from Visva Bharati University, Shantiniketan.

The petitioner sought a refund of the one day salary which was subtracted by the University in order to make a contribution to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in the interest of the people affected by cyclone Amphan that hit Kolkata and several districts of West Bengal in May 2020.

The single bench of Justice Amrita Sinha said that “An employee is paid salary in lieu of the service rendered. The same is a valuable right in the hands of the employee.”

The Counsel representing the University contended that this movement was made following Section 14(3) of the Visva-Bharati Act, 1951 that gives the Vice-Chancellor an authority to take immediate action if necessary on any matter.

The Court didn’t find any support in the University’s arguments.

The Court stressed upon the expression “any matter” under the Act would still mean any matter authorized by law and the Vice-Chancellor did not have unbridled power to act contrary to law.

The Court concluded that the benevolent act of donation must be of the donor’s free will and must not be attained forcefully.

Also read: Calcutta High Court to Examine Report submitted by NHRC

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