Published on: November 20, 2023 at 17:45 IST
The Delhi High Court has mandated that private schools must adhere to the recommendations of the sixth and seventh Central Pay Commissions (CPC) and ensure the payment of mandated salaries and benefits to their teaching and non-teaching staff [Anjali Vaid and Ors v Adarsh World School and Ors + Connected matters].
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh emphasized that employees in private schools have a vested right to receive salaries and emoluments as per the CPC recommendations, and schools cannot use financial constraints as a reason to deny these benefits to their staff.
The Court underscored that no school has the authority to seek a waiver of the CPC recommendations for any reason, stating that such a waiver would lead to arbitrary determination of employee salaries and potentially force staff to work for lower pay than stipulated by the Delhi School Education Act, 1973.
Justice Singh clarified that even unaided minority schools are obligated to pay salaries and benefits to their employees in line with CPC recommendations, as mandated by Section 10 of the Delhi School Education Act.
The Delhi government has been directed by the Court to establish high-powered committees (HPC) to oversee the implementation of CPC recommendations.
These committees will operate at both the state and central levels, with the central committee led by Delhi’s Education Secretary and including a school representative among its members.
A zonal committee, headed by the Zonal Education Officer, will address issues such as fee hikes, salaries, and other benefits. The zonal committee will submit its findings to the central committee for consideration and resolution within six weeks.
The Court instructed the Delhi government to issue a notification within two weeks for the formation of zonal committees. These committees will provide a platform for stakeholders, including teaching and non-teaching staff from various schools, to file their claims if they have been affected by the non-implementation of the pay commission.
The detailed order comes in response to a batch of petitions filed by teaching and non-teaching staff from various private schools in the national capital. The petitioners sought the benefits of the sixth and seventh pay commissions, including the payment of arrears and other benefits with interest.
While schools acknowledged the entitlement of petitioners to salaries and benefits according to pay commission recommendations, they argued financial constraints due to rejected fee hike proposals. However, the Court rejected these arguments, stating that non-compliance with the Department of Education’s notification for pay commission recommendations violates the petitioners’ constitutional rights.