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Dhaka Tribune

SC hearing on appeal against HC judgment over journo’s income tax, gratuity on August 28

The court set the new date, without staying the High Court judgment

Update : 24 Jul 2023, 07:53 PM

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) will hold hearing on August 28 on a state appeal against the High Court judgment that declared the recommendation made by cabinet committee in 9th Wage Board Award for journalists and workers of newspapers and news agencies, regarding income tax and gratuity, illegal.  

Justice M Enayetur Rahim of Appellate Division Chamber Judge Court sent the matter to the apex court regular bench after holding primary hearing on the plea.

The court set the new date, without staying the High Court judgment.

Deputy Attorney General Sheikh Saifuzzaman moved the state plea before the court, while Senior Advocate Dr Qazi Akter Hamid took part in the hearing for Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha-BSS Employees' Union. He was aided by Advocate Didarul Alam.

“The High Court on November 6, 2022, passed its judgment, declaring absolute a rule issued in this regard in 2020. As per the judgment, income tax levied on the salaries of journalists, press workers and administrative employees of the news papers and news agencies have to be paid by the concerned owners or news agencies. The state, however, filed an appeal against the judgment, and pleaded to stay the verdict,” Dr Qazi Akter Hamid told newsmen.

The senior jurist said during the hearing, they said the apex court has a judgment in this regard. 

The High Court too declared illegal the cabinet committee recommendations. After holding the hearing, the chamber judge court sent the matter to be heard by the regular bench on August 28, he added.

The 9th Wage Board headed by Justice Mohammed Nizamul Huq had proposed that income tax levied on the salaries of journalists, press workers and administrative employees of the news papers and news agencies have to be paid by the concerned owners or news agencies.

It also recommended that the journalists, press workers and administrative employees working at newspapers and news agencies of all categories will get yearly gratuity equal to his two months of basic salary based on his last month's draw, for his service ranging six months or more.

But, according to the cabinet committee recommendations for the Ninth Wage Board, income tax levied on the salaries of journalists, press workers and administrative employees have to be paid from their respective income.

Journalists, press workers and administrative employees working at newspapers and news agencies of all categories will get yearly gratuity equal to his one month of basic salary based on his last month's draw, for his service ranging six months or more.

Mohammad Mahbubuzzaman, general secretary of the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha-BSS Employees' Union, filed the writ petition on November 23, 2020, challenging the said two provisions of the Ninth Wage Board.

The High Court after holding hearing on the matter, had issued the rule on November 25, 2020, asking authorities concerned to explain as to why it shall not declare illegal and beyond legal jurisdiction the recommendation made by the cabinet committee.

“The journalists, press workers and administrative employees of the newspapers and news agencies had so far been getting as fringe benefit the money paid against their income tax. Apart from this, according to the BSS service rules, journalists, employees were getting yearly gratuity equal to their two months of basic salary. The recommendations made by the cabinet committee are contrary to the BSS service Rules,” Advocate Dr Qazi Akter Hamid further said.

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