No work, no pay: HC rejects acquitted teacher’s plea for salary during his imprisonment

Published on Aug 14, 2022 05:52 PM IST

Mumbai: The Bombay high court (HC) has rejected a plea of a 65-year-old retired teacher seeking a salary for the seven years that he spent behind bars in connection with the alleged murder of his wife

It was argued on his behalf that since no departmental proceedings were initiated against him by the employer, he was entitled to full salary and consequential benefits like a promotion for seven years when he remained behind bars.
It was argued on his behalf that since no departmental proceedings were initiated against him by the employer, he was entitled to full salary and consequential benefits like a promotion for seven years when he remained behind bars.

Mumbai: The Bombay high court (HC) has rejected a plea of a 65-year-old retired teacher seeking a salary for the seven years that he spent behind bars in connection with the alleged murder of his wife.

The division bench of justice SV Gangapurwala and justice SM Modak held that the principle of “no work, no pay” would apply to the case of the teacher - Gangadhar Pukale, though his conviction was reversed by the high court in appeal, as he was not available to perform his duties.

The bench said that pursuant to the order of conviction, Pukale was lodged in jail and as such could not have performed his duties even if he were not suspended by the school management. “In such a case, once incapacitated to perform his duties, the petitioner certainly will not be entitled to payment of salary.”

Pukale, a resident of Barshi in the Solapur district, was appointed as a teacher with a school run by Rayat Shikshan Sanstha in September 1979. While in service, on July 5, 2006, he was arrested for allegedly murdering his wife and convicted in September 2008 for the offence of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. All along, he remained behind bars till his conviction was set aside by the high court on appeal and he was set free on July 31, 2015.

After the high court reversed his conviction and set him free, he approached the high court again seeking orders from his employers to pay him a salary for seven years – from the date of his arrest till he attained the age of superannuation on July 31, 2013.

It was argued on his behalf that since no departmental proceedings were initiated against him by the employer, he was entitled to full salary and consequential benefits like a promotion for seven years when he remained behind bars.

The state government opposed the plea, contending that since his arrest the teacher was in jail and was released only after the high court acquitted him on July 31, 2015, and therefore not entitled to salary for this period of incarceration.

HC accepted the argument advanced by the government pleader. “He has not performed his duties. The management was not at fault. It was the petitioner who was incapacitated during the interregnum to perform his duties,” said the bench while dismissing the teacher’s plea. “Principle of no work no pay in such a case would apply,” the bench added.

HC, however, held that the teacher would be deemed to be continued in service even during the period of his incarceration to compute his pension and other terminal benefits.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Special Correspondent. I have spent over a decade covering courts in Mumbai, primarily the Bombay High Court, and including several important trials like trial of 120 accused in March 1993 Mumbai bombings, 26/11 case - trial of Ajmal Kasab.

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