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.