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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Guwahati HC ordered to pay unemployment allowance

The Guwahati High Court, Imphal Bench in a ruling by Justice T Vaiphei has upheld an earlier decree of the Imphal East MGNREGS Deputy Ombudsman for releasing unemployment allowance to 13 Job Card holders of Ucheckon Nongchup Gram Panchayat, who had applied for unemployment allowance.

According to a Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) statement, the Guwahati High Court, Imphal Bench in its ruling on August 30 directed to comply with the award issued by the Deputy Ombudsman, within two months and to release the unemployment allowance to be paid to the 13 Job Card holders.

With the passing of the said judgment and order, the MGNREGS authority in Manipur is compelled to pay the unemployment allowance for their failure to give employment to the job card holders, said the HRLN statement while pointing out that prior to passing of the said judgment and order, getting unemployment allowance in Manipur was a distant dream despite the fact that unemployment allowance is a guaranteed right under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 .

The said Writ Petition is one of the exceptional cases in Manipur in approaching the Court for non payment of unemployment allowance by the Job Card holders under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 .

Under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Manipur, which has been framed by the Government of Manipur under Section 4 of the MGNREGA, every job card holder is entitled to get unemployment allowance as and when the authority concerned failed to provide employment within 15 days from the date of submission of application for work by the Job Card Holder, HRLN explained.

With regard to the present case, it is informed that in November 2010, 13 Job Card holders of Uchekon Nongchup Gram Panchayat submitted their application for work under NREGS, Manipur to the authority of Uchekon Nongchup Gram Panchayat.

However, the said Job Card Holders were not provided employment within the stipulated period of time and as such they reportedly approached the Panchayat Secretary of the Gram Panchayat concerned on December 24, 2010 by submitting separate applications seeking unemployment allowances for failure to provide them employment.

Since then the 13 individuals have been waiting for unemployment allowance but the same was not released.

Subsequently, on January 15, 2011 the said Job Card holders submitted individual complaints to the Deputy Ombudsman, MGNREGS, Imphal East District for taking necessary action so as to enable them get their unemployment allowances.

Consequently, on February 14, the Deputy Ombudsman disposed of their complaints by a common Award thereby directing the Programme Officer concerned to pay the unemployment allowances to the said 13 Job Card holders.

However, the authority concerned failed to provide the unemployment allowances to them inspite of decree of the Deputy Ombudsman resulting in the 13 individuals approaching the Guwahati High court to deliver justice.

The Respondents listed in the Writ Petition include the State of Manipur through the Commissioner, (Rural Development and Panchayati Raj) to the Government of Manipur; the District Programme Co-ordinator, Imphal East District, Manipur; the Programme Officer, Imphal East II CD Block; and the Union of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, New Delhi (Proforma Respondent) .

The said Writ Petition was filed at the active initiative of Human Rights Law Network (Manipur), the statement issued by its director Meihoubam Rakesh added.

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