Non-payment of salaries: HC directs AAP government to release funds to four DU colleges by Nov 9

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New Delhi, Nov 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the AAP government to release by November 9, the remaining amount of two quarters to four Delhi University colleges, fully funded by it, to enable the institutes to release pending salaries of staffers.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad observed that a major festival, Diwali, is round the corner and the government is depriving people of their salaries.

The bench said it was not persuaded by any reason given by the Delhi government to deprive those who are employed in the colleges of their salaries.

“You cannot deprive teachers of their rights and salaries. Do you realise the major festival is round the corner and you are depriving people of their salaries,” it said.

The bench also directed the four colleges -- Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Bhagini Nivedita College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya Women’s College and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies -- to forthwith release the pending salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff, after receiving funds from the Delhi government.

The high court was hearing a plea by various teachers seeking direction to the institutions, which are affiliated to the varsity and fully funded by the Delhi government, to release their salaries pending for the last four months.

The four colleges told the court that Delhi government subsidised them to an extent of 100 per cent and it releases the fund on quarterly basis in four tranches.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, representing the teachers, said the four colleges have not paid salaries to their staff for the months of June, July and August.

Delhi government counsel submitted that there were some irregularities in accounts of the colleges and a special audit was being done at three colleges while an audit has been concluded in two of them, it will end in the third one on Thursday.

On being asked by the court whether accounts of the four colleges were being regularly audited in the past, the government counsel replied in affirmative.

The court, while dictating the order, said, “in view of the submission made by Agarwal that salaries have been released upto May, June and July, without prejudice to the special audit by Delhi government and its rights and contention, the Delhi government is directed to release the finances for two quarters of financial year commencing 2020 after adjusting the amount already released in favour of the four colleges on or before November 9, 2020.” It added that, “immediately on fund being released to colleges, salaries of petitioners and all other teaching and non-teaching staff be released forthwith.” The court listed the matter for further hearing on November 11.

Initially, the plea was filed against 12 colleges for non-payment of salaries, however, the court deleted eight of them from memo of parties as two of the colleges have now paid the salaries to the staff till August and no employee of rest of the six colleges have approached the court with their grievance.

The petition has said apart from these teachers there are other employees, teaching and non-teaching staff, who have not received their salaries for the months of May, June, July and August.

The eight teachers, who have filed the plea through advocate Kumar Utkarsh, said they are members of Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA), which on behalf of the aggrieved staff, has been writing to the Delhi government for release of funds to enable the 12 DU colleges, funded by the government, to pay due salaries to 1500 teachers and non-teaching staff working there.

The plea said due to non-payment of salaries to the teachers, they and all other employees working with these colleges are undergoing mental agony and harassment and contended that there is no justification on the part of authorities to not to pay them their dues on time.

“The impugned actions are unjust, unfair, arbitrary, discriminatory, unethical, unconstitutional, violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India read with the provisions of Delhi University Act, 1922.

“The impugned actions are bad in law as much as the same is violative of right to life as well as right to livelihood as guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution of India,” the plea contended.

It sought direction to the authorities to pay salaries to the petitioners due from May this year till date and also ensure timely payment of salaries in future.

The plea said the 12 colleges which are affiliated with the Delhi University and are fully funded by the Delhi government are Acharya Narendra Dev College, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences, Bhagini Nivedita College, DeenDayal Upadhyaya College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya Women’s College, Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Maharaja Agrasen College (DU), Maharshi Valmiki College of Education, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies. PTI SKV HMP SKV RKS RKS