Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government in the Department of Home has withheld earned salary of 71 employees for alleged non-availability of their Permanent Accounts Number (PAN) causing surge of discontentment amongst the staff.

PAN is allotted to each of the income tax payees by the Commissioner of Income Tax of the concerned circle. This helps in proper recording of the tax paid by a person. Normally a card bearing the account number is issued by the income tax authority in favor of the payee. If the concerned authority does not issue the card, the taxed person cannot be held responsible for that.

But the state government has held as many as 71 persons responsible and withheld their earned salary for want of PAN. The affected persons are regular members of the staff of the State Secretariat in the department of Home. They have strongly protested against this oppressive action on June 2, 2005 and threatened to take law to their hands if the blatantly wrong and illegal order is not instantly withdrawn.

One is at a loss to understand as to how government employees are denied their earned salary on such a fictitious ground. It cannot be a fact that they would not pay their income tax. In fact, being government employees and drawing salary from the State Treasury, their income tax is deducted at the source. It is government’s duty to deposit the tax amount deducted from the salary of an employee.

When there is no chance available to an employee to evade payment of tax, the government has certainly erred in withholding earned salary. Whosoever has issued orders for non-payment of salary be better taught that the government cannot act as a tyrant. In a democracy it is to behave as an ideal employer, not as an oppressor. No Law can countenance the Government’s action in this case. So, better, without provoking any further unrest, release of the illegally withheld salary must be a must without loss of time.

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