The High Court has sought details of the salary and allowances received by Taqsem A Khan as the managing director of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority.
After hearing a writ petition filed by the Consumers Association of Bangladesh, the court on Wednesday also asked why Taqsem should not be removed from his job.
The WASA board of directors has been asked to submit the documents to the court within the next 60 days.
In a set of rules, the court also asked why the defendants’ inaction in removing Taqsem should not be declared ultra vires, or beyond their legal authority.
The court also asked why it should not order WASA to pay Taqsem under the National Pay Scale 2015 until his removal from the post.
The local government secretary, the Dhaka WASA board and other defendants have been asked to respond to the rules within four weeks.
The panel of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo heard the petition. Lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua stood for the petitioner, while Deputy Attorney General Aravind Kumar Ray represented the state.
The government extended Taqsem’s tenure six times since his appointment as the WASA managing director in 2009. He draws Tk 625,000 in monthly salary now.
The CAB said in the petition Taqsem’s salary was Tk 120,000, including Tk 60,000 basic pay, when he joined WASA nearly 13 years ago. The other allowances included Tk 20,000 for house rent, Tk 10,000 for festivals, Tk 4,000 for medical bills and entertainment, and Tk 22,000 in special allowance. He was to pay the income taxes, according to the contract.
His salary was increased to Tk 200,000 a year later, in 2010, and Tk 450,000 in 2016 with a Tk 250,000 jump on one go and with retrospective effect from October 2015.
In February 2021, his salary was raised to Tk 625,000, including Tk 286,000 basic pay, Tk 47,667 in festival allowance, Tk 35,000 in house rent, Tk 35,750 for medical and entertainment, Tk 180,066 in special allowance and Tk 4,767 in Bangla New Year allowance.
The CAB sent a legal notice to the defendants challenging the decision to raise Taqsem’s salary after the media reported the development. The association moved the court with the writ petition on Jul 31 as the defendants did not respond to the notice.
Lawyer Jyotirmoy said they challenged the inaction of the WASA board in removing Taqsem despite his failure to improve WASA services. Taqsem was instead rewarded with several job extensions.
Jyotirmoy said Taqsem’s salary should have been fixed in line with the National Pay Scale in the absence of guidelines on the matter. The finance ministry set the rule in 2016.
The basic pay under grade one of the National Pay Scale is Tk 78,000.
WASA, as a statutory body, does not have the authority to raise salaries like private companies, Jyotirmoy argued.
The lawyer said the court noted that even the president gets a basic salary of Tk 150,000 while the WASA managing director’s basic pay is Tk 286,000.