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Monday, February 6, 2012

'Compulsory retirement' not applicable to unaided schools: HC

A rule providing for forced retirement of a central government employee before normal age of superannuation is not applicable to a teacher of an unaided private school, the Delhi High Court has ruled.
A Bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani gave the ruling while quashing the verdict of a single-judge Bench, which had earlier upheld the decision of a Delhi school to compulsorily retire one of its teachers, shortly after she (the teacher) turned 50.
The school had forced her to retire applying Fundamental Rule 56(j), meant for compulsory retirement of Central government employees in public interest before his or her age of superannuation, but after 50.
"Fundamental Rules cannot be held applicable to the teachers of an unaided recognised private school," the Bench said.
"The courts cannot permit the invocation of the provisions of FR 56(j) to a teacher of an unaided recognised private school," it added, while also asking the school to pay her salary and other benefits, which she had lost due to her forcible retirement.
"Courts are empowered to enforce the law as it stands and not the law what the courts may think it should be," the court said setting aside its single-judge Bench order.
The court order came on the plea by Leela Sharma, who taught Hindi in an unaided recognised private school since 1988 but was forced to retire in 2002. Her ouster was upheld by the court's single-judge Bench and she had come to the division Bench in an appeal.
In her appeal, Sharma had contended that the Fundamental Rule 56 (j), providing for compulsory retirement of a Central government employee in public interest, cannot be invoked by a private, unaided school under the Delhi School Education Act 1973 or the Rules framed thereunder.
Dwelling upon various criteria for applicability of FR to an employee, the Bench said, "FR 2 provides that fundamental rules apply to all government servants whose pay is debatable to civil estimates and to any other class of government servants to which the President may by general or special order declare FR applicable to them."
"Undeniably, the teachers of an unaided recognised private school are neither government servants nor their pay is debatable to civil estimates. They are also not the employees for whom the President, by any general or special order, has declared the Fundamental Rules applicable," it added.
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