The Delhi High Court has held that unaided recognised private schools can force teachers to take premature retirement, saying it "eliminates stagnation" and "promote vibrancy" in organisations.
"An order of compulsory retirement is an important tool to keep any organisation vibrant and to prevent its clogging and decay by sheer weight of long standing employees who have ceased to be the dynamos to propel the organisation further and for achieving its goals," Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.
Turning down the plea of a trained graduate teacher that there is no public interest involved in forcing her to retire, the court said schools should not be forced to continue with such person's service at the cost of future citizens.
"The public interest in imparting education in the school requires vesting of powers with the recognised schools to compulsorily/pre-maturely retire teachers who fail to ignite the minds of students and fail to inculcate in them the inquisitiveness and knowledge," the court said.
It held the order forcing an employee to retire could not be treated as a punishment and carries no stigma.
The right of the employer to ask for compulsory retirement of an employee will be limited only after he/she attains a certain age, the court said.
It passed the order on a petition filed by Leela Sharma, who had joined the service in 1988 as a TGT, challenging the decision of the school to force her to take premature retirement.
The school had contended that Sharma joined the service at the age of 45 years when it was not recognised by the government while the maximum age stipulated under the law was 30 years.
However, after being recognised by the government, the authorities started pressing for her retirement as per the norms of the Delhi School Education Act and Rules.