New Delhi: Teachers cannot be allowed to suffer in the blame game between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Delhi University colleges, the Delhi High Court on Monday observed while hearing a plea challenging the decision to pay the outstanding salaries to staffers from the Students Society Fund (SSF).
The high court asked the counsel for Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), which has challenged the October 16 order of the Delhi government asking the 12 colleges, which are fully funded by the state, to pay the salaries of over 1,500 staff-- both teaching and non-teaching-- from the students fund, to make the colleges party to the petition.
The court also observed that Delhi University is the guardian of all its colleges and there is some responsibility of the varsity to put things in order and solve the issues.
Justice Jyoti Singh asked as to why the colleges concerned are not made party to the petition and said she will hear the matter once they are arrayed as respondents in the plea.
“Colleges should be made a party. In this blame game, teachers cannot be allowed to suffer. Where should teachers go then. They should also say okay fine we are not working…
“I am wondering and amazed that colleges which should be made first party are not made a party at all,” the judge said.
The high court said it would be unfair to pass any order in the absence of colleges.
The counsel appearing for the Delhi government informed the court that a coordinate bench of the high court, on October 23, had stayed the decision asking the 12 DU colleges to pay outstanding salaries of staffers from the students’ fund.
The counsel said the colleges are necessary parties to the plea and the petitioner has chosen not to implead them and hence, the interim order of stay shall be vacated.
The high court said it found force in the Delhi government counsel’s contention that the colleges must be made a party but refused to pass any order at this stage.
Advocate Jivesh Tiwari, representing DUSU, sought time to implead the colleges as parties to the petition.
The high court listed the matter for further hearing on November 5 and said the interim order will continue till then.
During the hearing, advocate Aakanksha Kaul, representing the Delhi University, said the varsity is supporting the students’ petition and added that the students fund cannot be used for paying teachers salaries and it will amount to cheating the students.
The high court asked the DU counsel to take instructions on the issue of funds and grants from the higher authorities and inform the court about it on the next date of hearing.
The college staff has not been paid for the last three months.
Twelve colleges which are affiliated with the Delhi University and are fully funded by the Delhi government are Acharya Narendra Dev College, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences, Bhagini Nivedita College, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya Women’s College, Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Maharaja Agrasen College (DU), Maharshi Valmiki College of Education, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies.
The high court had on October 23 issued notice to the Directorate of Higher Education, Delhi University and Delhi government and sought their replies on the petition by DUSU.
DUSU, in its plea, said “Such arbitrary and illegal usage of the money raised by students for their academic welfare has forced the petitioner who represents the students of the university as a union, to come to this court for quashing of such illegal, unjust and arbitrary order that is unjust and violative of the rights of students as a whole.”
The plea said the Directorate of Higher Education has directed the 12 colleges, which are 100 per cent funded by the Delhi government, to exhaust and utilise the funds gathered by the students with respect to the Students Society Fund (SSF) maintained by the respective colleges for and by the students.
It said that as per the UGC guidelines, only 11 heads can be included as income and 34 heads for expenditure. It added that for paying the salaries only those heads which are under "income" head can be used for paying salaries.
“This does not include the fund collected by students under the societies head or any amount kept in that corpus fund with regard to the SSF can be utilised for this purpose,” the plea said.
“...the impugned actions are bad in law and violate the rights of each and every student that has contributed to such SSF and usage of the such Funds for the payment of salaries will be highly objectionable as their lies no reason or precedent for the usage of such student funds for payment of salaries from colleges which are 100 per cent funded by the respondent no.3 (Delhi government)," it said.
The government order had given permission for utilising the Students Society Fund(SSF) for payment of salaries to the teaching and non-teaching staff.
“If any salaries remain unpaid after the SSF has been exhausted, the remaining amount will be paid by the Directorate of Higher Education after receipt of formal request from the concerned college(s),” it added.