The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted relief to four private school teachers who had not been paid their salaries since for months and who had consequently resigned (Pooja Mahajan. & Ors. vs. Richmond Global and Ors.).
The orders were passed on four different petitions filed by the teachers of the Richmond Global School. The petitioners claimed that they had not received salaries from periods starting from November 2019, September 2020, October 2020 and February 2021 till March 2021.
The Court was told that they had been forced to resign owing to the extreme difficulty caused by such non-payment of salary.
On Thursday, Justice Kameshwar Rao ordered the respondent, Richmond Global School to pay the arrears of salaries to all four petitioner-teachers with interest at the rate of 7 percent.
"Arrears of consolidated salary for the period has to be paid to the Petitioner, the same shall be released to the Petitioner within a period of four weeks from today, suffice to state, the same shall be paid with interest at 7% per annum," the Court directed in one of the four orders passed. Similar directions were also passed in the other orders.
One of the petitions were disposed of after directing the school to also pay arrears of salary payable by calculating it in line with the 7th Pay Commisson (CPC) from April 2016, when the petitioner was appointed. This was to be done in eight weeks' time.
The other three petitioner-teachers had also claimed that they were eligible to receive salaries in line with the 7th CPC. However, this issue is yet to be determined by the Court on the basis of pleadings to be submitted. The Court, therefore, issued notice in these three petitions and directed the school to file its counter affidavit within six weeks. The matter will be taken up next on January 17, 2022.
All four petitioner-teachers were further asked to appear before the school Principal on September 27, 2021 to retrieve their original documents, that they had submitted to the school at the time of appointment.
Advocate Khagesh B Jha, who appeared on behalf of the teachers, had submitted that the school management had impounded the original certificates of the teachers, while not paying them a single penny in months.
"The school had further advertised for the posts of more teachers in their school, thereby employing more educated bonded labourers," Jha contended.
On the other hand, Advocate Avnish Ahlawat, on behalf of Richmond Global School, disputed the claims. She also stated that the nature of the appointment of some of the teachers was contractual and on the payment of a consolidated salary. Further, Ahlawat emphasised that at no point of time did the teachers challenge their appointment on a contract basis.
This aspect was contested by Jha who submitted that there is no concept of contractual service under the Delhi School Education Act and Rules.
The Court eventually proceeded to issue notice on the aspect of whether appointments were on contract basis.
Notice was issued on the petitions filed by teachers Pooja Mahajan, Dishant Singh Rajawat, and Meenakshi Rawat.