Saturday, November 14, 2015

HC summons 4 officials for ignoring court order

Gujarat high court has summoned four senior officials from the education and finance departments for not implementing the court's order granting benefits of higher payscale to those primary teachers who had retired before 1994. The teachers have waited for 21 years to avail of the benefits. 

With a mind to initiate contempt of court proceedings, a division bench asked principal secretary in the education department Pankaj Joshi; finance secretary Sanjeev Kumar; director of primary education Bharat Pandit; and director of pension and provident fund PN Raol; to remain present before the court on December 1. 

All four officials have also been asked to file separate affidavits explaining why they had decided not to implement the high court order merely on ground that they planned to challenge the order of the single bench before a division bench. 

In June this year, Justice J B Pardiwala had ordered the state government to grant benefits of three pay increments since 1987, to primary teachers who retired before1994. The HC had pulled up the authorities for not paying heed to retired people's legitimate demands.They had heard the retired teachers only after the court inter vened, the HC said. The government was ordered to pay the teachers benefits with 10% interest. 

However, the authorities - the finance department, education department, commissioners of primary education as well as the pension and provident fund authorities, sat tightly over the HC directions for five months. This led the federation of pensioners to file a contempt of court petition last week. 

On hearing about the stay granted on the court order by the four officials themselves, the bench of Justice SR Brahmbhatt and Justice RP Dholaria sought to know reasons that justified their inaction. The HC dubbed it as "blatant disregard" for HC's directions which warranted an explanation, "as lack of sensitivity to the plight of applicants, who are senior citizens, would all the more amount to adding insult to injury , which applicants have suffered." 

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