The Delhi High Court has observed that the employees of an unaided private school are entitled to the benefits as being given to the employees of the government run schools.
Justice V Kameswar Rao thus granted relief to the petitioners who were working as Teachers including pre-primary, Librarian, TGT and PGT in city’s Ahlcon Public School.
The Court allowed the plea which had sought directions on the school to pay to petitioners the amounts wrongfully deducted from their salaries from the month of June 2020 and onwards till date. The plea also sought directions on the school to fix their pay terms of the 7th central pay commission along with allowances and other benefits including arrears of salaries.
The Court therefore directed the School to re-fix the salaries and other emoluments of the petitioners under 7th pay commission in accordance with the rules and pay the arrears within a period of three months.
“It is made clear that the arrears shall not carry any interest, if the amount is paid within a period of three months. Any delay beyond the period of three months, shall entail an interest @ 6% per annum,” it added.
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Regarding the prayer of the petitioners that they were paid salary with deduction from June 2020 till August 2021, the Court directed that the unpaid salary shall also be paid, if not already paid, within the aforesaid period and that any delay beyond a period of three months, shall also entail an interest @ 6% per annum.
According to the counter affidavit filed by the school, a stand was taken that the School was being run on a land allotted to the Society by the Delhi Development Authority as per the industrial rates with a clear stipulation that it will admit 25% children belonging to Economically Weaker Section and will provide Freeship in Tuition fee to such children.
It was also stated that the school had extended the pay scales to its staff right till the 6th pay commission and that the 7th pay commission pay scales were introduced with effect from January 01, 2016, the orders for which were issued subsequently at a much later date.
It was stated that given the improving situation of COVID-19, the school had started remitting the full salaries of the staff w.e.f. August 2021 as per their entitlement. It was added that the finances of the school did not allow the implementation of the 7th pay commission and that the sole reason for the same was that the Director of Education had not taken any decision on the fee proposal for the last five years.
The issued before the Court was thus regarding the grant of benefit under 7th pay commission. The Court was of the view that the said issue was no more res integra in view of Section 10 of the Delhi School Education Act, 1973.
“The said Section contemplates that the pay and allowances of the employees of recognised private Schools could not be less than that of the employees of the Government run Schools,” the Court noted.
The Court said that the said issue was settled by a judgment of the Full Court in case titled Guru Harkishan Public School v. Director of Education and Ors. wherein the Court had in detail referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Frank Anthony Public School Employees’ Association v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. and held that the pay and allowances of the employees of unaided minority Schools cannot be less than those of the employees of the Government run Schools.
“Hence, on that analogy, the petitioners herein, who are employees of an unaided private school are entitled to the benefits as is being given to the employees of the government run schools,” the Court observed.
“In view of the above, this writ petition need to be allowed and the respondent No.1 / School is directed to re-fix the salaries and other emoluments of the petitioners under 7th CPC in accordance with the rules and pay the arrears to the petitioners within a period of three months from today,” the Court directed.
The plea was accordingly disposed of.
Title: MRS OMITA MAGO & ORS. v. AHLCON PUBLIC SCHOOL & ANR.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 318