DU teachers move high court seeking pending salaries

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Published on Sep 29, 2020 10:53 PM IST
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New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the response of four Delhi University colleges on a petition by teachers, who wanted a direction to those institutions affiliated to the university and fully funded by the Delhi government, to release their salaries pending for the last four months.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad asked the authorities of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Bhagini Nivedita College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya Women’s College and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies to file their status reports on the petition.

The court also sought the response of the Delhi government and Delhi University to the plea and listed the matter for further hearing on November 4.

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

The 12 colleges mentioned in the plea 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.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, who is appearing for eight teachers, argued that the Delhi government was punishing 2,000 families without any fault and that it should immediately release grants to colleges to enable them to pay the salaries of employees.

In the plea, the teachers contended that they had not received their salaries for the months of May, June, July and August.

The teachers said they are members of the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA), which on behalf of the aggrieved staff has been writing to the Delhi government to release funds to enable the 12 DU colleges, funded by the state government, to pay pending salaries to 1,500 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.

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

DU Dean of Colleges Balaram Pani said, “The Delhi government should release the grants. Even if special audits are being conducted based on allegations of financial irregularities, salaries of staff should not be withheld. There is no rule which says so.”

The Delhi government did not respond to requests for a comment.

On September 16, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had spoken of surplus funds in at least four of the 12 government-funded colleges based on an initial observation report by the auditors following a special audit. The colleges contested the claim, saying students society fund cannot be used for salary purposes.

The Delhi government has been at the loggerheads with 12 DU colleges, which it fully funds, over the release of grants for the last six months.

While the principals allege they have not been able to pay their staff since May as grants have not been issued, the Delhi government says with enough funds have been provided in the present academic year.

The government has also ordered an independent audit in six of the 12 colleges over alleged “misappropriation” of funds, which triggered a fresh round of war of words.

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