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Bihar salary case

New Delhi, Feb. 24: The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Centre asking to know why salaries to thousands of Bihar state employees have not been paid for years.

A bench of Chief Justice V.N. Khare and Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice A.R. Lakshmanan issued the notice to the Centre after the Bihar government refused in toto any liability on its part and, instead, contended that the Centre should be held responsible for the salary non-payment and starvation deaths in the country.

The case took this latest turn after Bihar senior counsel Shanti Bhushan — also former Union law minister in 1977-80 — said in court that the state had no liability in paying salaries to the employees of state government-undertaking companies.

“However, if anybody is dying of starvation, then it is the liability of the Centre....it (the Centre) has lots of funds....but it is spending the funds extravagantly,” Bhushan said.

Supreme Court advocate Kapil Hingorani had filed a petition saying that salaries in many government departments in Bihar were not paid for over 10 years and consequently some employees of the state road transport corporation had committed suicide.

Hingorani wanted a direction from the apex court to the state to release part of the salaries. The bench, however, gave no such orders, and appointed senior advocate P.S. Mishra as amicus curiae to assist the court in the case.

An amicus curiae or “friend of the court” is appointed by the court to assist it in matters of public importance and public interest.

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