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HC directs state to give pension to deficit teachers

SHILLONG: The High Court of Meghalaya has ordered the state government to provide pension to teachers of deficit schools and colleges as per the recommendation of the Fifth Pay Commission with retrospective effect.
The categories of teachers who will be availing the benefits are government aided/ad hoc and deficit.
In this regard, the court has also quashed the order of the Principal Secretary, Education Department, issued on April 13, 2018.
The court said on Thursday the state government can amend necessary acts and rules to include deficit teachers in the pension scheme.
While disposing of a writ petition, the court gave the state government three months’ time to take steps to start retirement benefits for deficit teachers.
The court of Judge SR Sen, while hearing a petition by the president of the Greater Phulbari Area Deficit School Retired Teachers’ and Employees’ Association, made the observation that the government cannot wash its hands of the responsibility to pay pension to retired deficit teachers.
Senior advocate GS Massar, while arguing the case for the petitioner, said the government pays pension to legislators, who only serve for five years, whereas teachers are neglected despite the fact that they are “the backbone of the society”.
He also pointed out that MLAs are getting pension from retrospective effect.
The court said since the government plays a direct role in all government aided, ad hoc or deficit schools, from the time of appointment till termination as well as in the management, “it is apparent that government cannot say that they have no responsibility for the pension of the teachers and non-teaching employees” in such schools.
To the argument of government counsel KP Bhattacharjee, who said there was no provision in the Meghalaya School Education Act 1981 for pension, the court said the argument was “frivolous and intentional just to avoid their responsibility towards the teachers and the employees of the schools”.
“On perusal of the observation made by the Hon’ble Apex Court, it is clear that Article 14 of the Indian Constitution is a constitutional mandate and that needs to be adhered in letter and spirit. Therefore, I am unable to accept the submission advanced by the government counsel that pensionary benefits and other benefits should be given only to the government school teachers and staff and not to government aided/ad hoc and deficit teachers and staff,” the court said.
According to the court, in addition to the recommendation of the Fifth Pay Commission, the government should give more facilities to the government aided/ad hoc and deficit school and college teachers than what is recommended in the Fifth Pay Commission.
The Fifth Pay Commission had recommended that the scheme of pension and other retirement benefits in line with serving government employees be considered and allowed as per the terms and conditions which may be specified for the purpose to all pre-April 4, 2010, teachers/employees of Deficit/Aided Educational Institutions and the benefits under the new defined contribution pension Scheme (NPS) for post-April 1, 2010, teachers.
“Government must give equal facilities to the teachers of government aided/ad hoc and deficit schools and colleges equal to the benefits enjoyed by the government school and college teachers because the recommendation of Rs. 10,000 and Rs 5,000 is too meagre in comparison to the present price index. If government has the power to adopt a policy or to amend rules and acts, the government should also consider the plight of the teachers of the government aided/ad hoc and deficit schools and colleges,” the court said.
The government should not take any plea of financial constraint to give the pensionary and other benefits to the teaching and non-teaching staff of government aided/ad hoc and deficit schools and colleges, the court said, adding that the management of fund is totally in the hand of the government.
The court said the teachers are the backbone of the society and it is through their contribution, dedication and hard work “which has moulded us to become what we are today; be it a Judge, a Minister, a Lawyer, a Doctor or an IAS Officer etc., and that, we can never forget”.
“We all know that the retired teachers and employees of the government aided/ad hoc and deficit schools and colleges suffer due to non-availability of pension and live a very uncomfortable inhumane life, some even die due to starvation and cannot get proper treatment due to financial constraints,” the court observed.
Court raps MPSC over edu scam
The single bench of the High Court of Meghalaya took a dig at the MPSC conducted examinations while delivering an order regarding deficit school teachers on Thursday.
“I am of the considered view that written examination and oral interview are more transparent in government aided/ad hoc and deficit schools and colleges than the examinations conducted by the MPSC for e.g, the present education selection scam pertaining to the appointment of teachers by the MPSC which is under CBI,” said Justice S R Sen in his order.
He said it is also a fact that both in the government aided/ad hoc and deficit school and college teachers come through proper examination and oral interviews as MPSC conducts.

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