The Delhi High Court has observed that an institution which cannot pay its wages which have been unpaid for years, which are legally due, draws attention to its financial stability and its right to continue as an employer.
A dividing bench made up of Judge Najmi Waziri and Judge Vikas Mahajan was of the view that it was up to the state government to look into the matter and ensure that educational institutions uphold and comply with the strict standards of the law.
The Court was dealing with an LPA filed by the Delhi Sukh Gurudwara Management Committee regarding the non-payment of the unpaid amount to teachers paid under the sixth salary commission for the past eight years.
The appellant argued that she was paying the unpaid sums with interest, therefore no prejudice was caused to the respondent teachers.
“This argument has only to be advanced to be rejected. A teacher or a worker expects full pay every month, their families and dependents have their own financial demands, which must be met immediately. In the hope that they will get the money later, many have lost their lives in the past two years. Their desires and hopes have not been redeemed. An institution, which cannot pay its long unpaid salaries since years, which are statutorily due, draws attention to his financial stability and his right to continue as an employer,” observed the Court.
Counsel for the appellants argued that they run educational institutions largely through contributions received from religious congregations and other philanthropic organizations.
It was further argued that the last two years had been rather difficult for them, hence some delay in the execution of said payments.
“However, the payment that is to be paid for the first time was around 8 years ago, surely that is a long time for the funds to be arranged,“ noted the Court.
The Court further found that subsequent dues from January 1, 2016 about the Seventh Wage Commission had not even started to be paid.
“This latest event has led to an upward revision and increase in teachers’ monthly pay between 25% and 30%. Why should teachers be denied this benefit for 8 years. The non-payment of their fair contribution is unfair to them”, the Court observed.
Initially, the Appellants submitted, on instructions, that the arrears of approximately 25% under the Sixth Wages Board be settled by July 15, 2022.
“That said arrears be paid in two equal installments before 10.07.2022. The first installment shall be paid before 15.06.2022 and the second installment before 10.07.2022, failing which the chairman of the management committee/governing body of caller 1 must be present in court on the next date,” ordered the Court.
He added “All retiree pension benefits must also be cleared by 10.07.2022.”
The case will now be heard on July 12.
Case title: DELHI SIKH GURDWARA MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE & ORS. vs. RAVINDER KAUR BHATIA & ORS.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 560
Click here to read the order