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  • Category: Indian Law

    Can house rent allowance be deducted even if the employee does not avail of Govt. accommodation?


    Annoyed that HRA has been deducted despite not accepting Govt-allotted accommodation? Find out if it is right to deduct the HRA if this is the case.

    I work in a Central Government office in Jorhat which is a Research Institute of Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education, Dehradun under Ministry of Environment of Forests & Climate Change, Govt. of India. The employees of the council are facing a problem relating to deduction of House Rent Allowance from monthly salary.

    Many employees don't live in the Govt. Accommodation provided by the office. In the Rain Forest Research Institute, there are Govt. Accommodations available but the required basic facilities are not available. Nearby facilities of ATM, Bank, Hospital, Post Office are not available in the Rain Forest Research Institute campus. Also, there is no good facility for a general shopping market. The campus security service is not up to the mark. The office has been using Home Guards from Assam Police Service but some of them are very aged. The Home Guards are deployed without any arms and cannot fight back in case of an emergency. Also if any employee feels weak, then he has to travel almost 20 Kms to visit a hospital. Further, the campus area is not safe as sometimes tigers roam around the campus. There is no reputed school and marketplace are available nearby the office campus.

    The problem is that the Director of Rain Forest Research Institute has suggested for deduction of House Rent Allowance from the employees if they are not availing Govt. Accommodation. Forcefully the authority has decided to allot accommodation to the employees and if the employee refused to avail the accommodation, then the authority has decided to deduct the House Rent Allowance from the salary of the employees. Please let me know is it possible to deduct House Rent Allowance from any Govt. employee if he/she refuses to avail Govt. Accommodation? If accommodation is allotted, then what basic facilities are to be provided? As per the enquiries I made to seek information on this, I found that it is not possible to deduct House Rent Allowance from an employee if he/she refuses to avail govt. accommodation (as per Central Administrative Tribunal verdict. The link of the verdict is attached) Link: https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/can-t-deduct-rent-of-staff-who-refuses-govt-accommodation/story-0bsPX7GJY9XtVsVNZZN46O.H T M L.

    Please advise me as soon as possible.
  • #151722
    It is better to get the information regarding the rule to your Organisation from your office. Since yours is an autonomous organisation or governmental agency under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, you have to verify the rules and regulations of that department. Generally, if the reasons are valid, you can say that you will not avail the government accommodation. In such case, they should not deduct HRA from your salary. Probably nobody is an interest to stay in the government quarters of your department they might have decided this extreme action. You better see the terms of your appointment and then go accordingly.
    drrao
    always confident

  • #151730
    There is no logic in deducting the house rent for the residential official accommodation not occupied by the employee. Please check with your organisation whether in such forest departments is it mandatory for the employees to stay in official colony. If yes, then this deduction will be in the nature of directive and can not be challenged by the employee.

    Anyway you can ask these details through RTI so that there is no misleading or confusion about the issue.

    Please also get clarified whether in the present case the employees will be paid the HRA or not against the rent paid by them for outside private houses as per the existing HRA rules of the Govt.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #151733
    In this case employees are wrong and cannot object to the deduction of HRA.

    Government employees are supposed to be residing within a specified distance from their workplace. The general or specific rules and conditions specify that. The central govt employee(especially of certain cadre,position and projects)cannot leave the 'headquarters' without permission from the authority. When the government provides accommodation they are supposed to stay in the allotted accommodations as per their eligibility. Certain projects and project areas some hardships will have to be faced. Some cases the government also compensates with certain other facilities or compensation considering them as hardship centres or hardship postings. The compensations may be reduction in the period of posting, preference of choice in the next posting, extra cash compensation during the period of posting etc etc.

    when there is government provided accommodation and it is allotted to the employee, it is mandatory that the HRA is deducted. Sometimes there may be an extra deductions for quarters rent also. The employee cannot object to it. Not staying in govt allotted quarters can be taken as violation and disciplinary action also can b e taken. Many positions in government duty are considered as ''duty on call'. It is for such purpose that employees are given accommodation by government near the work site or projects.

  • #151747
    This is a bit surprising that they are deducting the amount of house rent for the unoccupied official accommodation. I do not think that it is compulsory to stay there as long as the employee is able to discharge his duties and available on call whenever he is required.

    You have to take this matter with higher ups and find out the exact procedure in your department. Generally, rules will not differ so much in the departments falling under the same ministry.

    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • #151751
    I am trying to answer this question from my knowledge of Government rules. There may be some situations where staying in Government accommodations is compulsory. In that case, the HRA will be automatically deducted from the salary of the employees, even if they don't stay in the allotted Government accommodations. Please check your offer of appointment for clarifications in this regard.

    But I admit that such a situation is extremely in case of civil posts. In most of the cases, there is no compulsion to stay in Government accommodation. So, there is no question of deduction of HRA. Further, what about the license fee? Are you paying the license fee? If yes, then the accommodations are formally allotted to you. If you are not paying the license fee, then the deduction of HRA is wrong. You must represent before the higher authorities indicating the mistake and asking them to rectify it immediately.

    Non-violence is the greatest Dharma; So too is all righteous violence.

  • #151752
    First of all you have to refer to your appointment letter where you will get all your details of the regulations to be followed while staying in the organisation or otherwise you may approach the Personnel - department of the organisation in order to know the rules in relation to the accommodation.
    Some organisations make it mandatory to stay in the quarter - premises alloted to the employees and in case, you don't want to avail the same, you have to intimate the personnel department regarding your inability of non adherence to this facility. May be your accommodation is within the distance of six kilometre from your office where you are supposed to work. You will be intimated through the office - circular in case of acceptance of your request or even in case of refusal of the same, they would intimate you with some specific reason for not acceding to your proposal.
    HRA would be applicable in case of your allotment to accommodation and if the rules of the company states that the employees are supposed to reside the quarter of the company, there would not be any escape in relation to deduction of HRA and in that case, there will be a deduction of HRA amount.
    If you could secure a written approval for not availing such facility, there would not be any deductions against HRA.


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