Saturday, July 2, 2016

'No retirement age at minority institutes'

'No retirement age at minority institutes'

| TNN | 
Ahmedabad: In a landmark judgment, Gujarat high court has ruled that the government's norms for retirement for employees do not apply to minority-run educational institutions.

Such institutes can engage the services of its employees beyond the age of superannuation, which is 60 years, till the employees are mentally and physically fit. The only requirement is that employees must have this certified by medical authorities.

Justice J B Pardiwala restrained the state government from any interference and observed that it must continue to pay grants towards salaries of such senior employees, that the institute feels can serve the best interests of students and the community.

The high court said that the grant-in code cannot prevail over regulations for running minority institutions. If the government interferes in selection, taking action or making the staff - both teaching and non-teaching - retire, it is in clear violation of Article 30(1) of the Constitution, which protects and confers autonomy on minority run educational institutions.

The HC order came in response to a petition filed by a minority institute, HB Kapadia Education Trust, which used to run New High School in Ahmedabad's walled city area. It principal, Hasmukh Kapadia, was due to retire in 2001, and the government extended his term till he turned 60. The institute wanted to have the principal stay on and insisted that the government continue to pay his salary because it was a grant-in-aid school.
The school closed in 2012. Justice Pardiwala ordered the state government to pay the full salary for 2001 to 2012 to Kapadia within three months.

Justifying its conclusion that minority institutes cannot be interfered with so far as employees' retirement age is concerned, the HC observed, "The object of conferring the right on minorities under Article 30 is to ensure that there will be equality between the majority and the minority. If the minorities do not have such special protection they will be denied equality."

Justice Pardiwala also called for certain regulatory measures in such institutes, "The right conferred on religious minority to administer educational institutions of their choice is not an absolute right, though no restrictions were imposed on the right conferred under Article 30, like the reasonable restrictions placed on Article 19.

Regulatory measures can be made to ensure the appointment of good teachers and their conditions of service, for securing a fair procedure in the matter of disciplinary action against the teachers and for the elimination of a potential cause of insecurity and frustration amongst them."

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