SHILLONG, Oct 11: The state government has been directed by the Meghalaya High Court to frame the rules for pension and other benefits which are to be extended to the school and college teachers working in the government aided/adhoc and deficit schools and colleges in the state.
“I further make it clear and direct that the government should make Rules for family pension of the incumbent. They should be given the pension as was given to government school and college teachers as per the Government Pension Rules,” Justice SR Sen said in his judgement passed here on Thursday.
The writ petition, which was filed by the Greater Phulbari Area Deficit School, was also disposed of with a direction that the state government should ensure the Fifth Pay Commission recommendation is followed in letter and spirit.
“This judgment shall be applicable throughout the State of Meghalaya,” Justice Sen said.
The government was also directed to take note that the observations as well as the directions made in the judgment are mandatory and must be followed strictly and the same is to be complied within three months.
The Court has also directed the Registry to send a copy of the judgement and order to the Governor, Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary of the Education department.
The government counsel had submitted that there is no provision for pension and other benefits in the Acts and Rules.
However, Justice Sen said, “…government definitely has the power to make a provision in the said Acts and Rules for pension and other benefits, the government can amend the Acts and Rules if they are really concerned about the plights of the government aided/adhoc and deficit schools and colleges teachers.”
“What is important is to have a human touch and approach for all the citizens of the country so that they can live a decent and comfortable life after retirement with their kith and kin,” he said.
“We must remember 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.”
With the New Pension Scheme came into effect from April 1, 2010, the single bench said that if it so, Court is in opinion that it will not be applicable in the case of government aided/adhoc and deficit school and college teachers who have retired or joined prior to April 1, 2010.
The judgement also said that the Meghalaya government must think seriously about the upliftment and security of the government aided/adhoc and deficit school and college teachers.
The bench also observed that the government cannot just justify that the appointment methods are different between the government school/college teachers and government aided/adhoc and deficit school and college teachers.
“It is not at all acceptable and not sustainable in the eye of law because both the classes of teachers are giving equal service to the society,” it said.
The bench further directed the state government to apply the Fifth Pay Commission recommendation in letter and spirit and should be given in retrospective effect while setting aside the April 13, 2018-notification issued by the Principal Secretary of Education.
On the other hand, Justice Sen said, “Further, in addition to the recommendation of the Fifth Pay Commission in my view, government should give more facilities to the 32 government aided/adhoc and deficit school and college teachers than what is recommended in the Fifth Pay Commission.”
“Government must give equal facilities to the teachers of government aided/adhoc 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 5000 is too meagre in comparison to the present price index,” he said in the judgement adding “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/adhoc and deficit schools and colleges.”
He also asked the government should not forget that they are the representatives of the people and elected as MPs and MLAs of the people and by the people for the interest of the common people, and people expect that each and every citizen of the country shall get equal treatment and equal laws.
Government aided/adhoc and deficit school and college teachers also take part in the election process and they never expect any discrimination and inequality from the government they have elected.
It is also a fact that both in the government aided/adhoc and deficit schools and colleges teachers come through proper examination and oral interviews as MPSC conducts.
“Rather, I am of the considered view that written examination and oral interview are more transparent in government aided/adhoc 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 investigation,” the judge said.
The government should not take any plea of financial constraint to give the pensionary and other benefits to the teaching and non-teaching 33 staff of government aided/adhoc and deficit schools and colleges. The management of the fund is totally in the hand of the government, he added.