The readers of this journal may recall the article published in its July-November 2007 issue on the exploitation of private school teachers in Delhi and the order passed by the High Court of Delhi on May 9, 2007 regarding compliance of Section10 of the Delhi Schools Education Act, 1973 in the writ petition filed by Common Cause. Even after this order, complaints of exploitation of private school teachers persisted and as per the directions of the High Court, Common Cause forwarded two specific complaints to the Directorate of Education, Delhi. The complainants were Sunita Rani of Amar Ashram Kanya Vidyalaya, Jwala Nagar, Shahadra, Delhi and Sangeeta Srivastava of Arun Modern Public Secondary School, Brij Puri, Shahadra Zone, Delhi. Since no response was received from the Directorate of Education, a contempt petition was filed on November 5, 2007 on the ground that the respondent Directorate had not initiated any action to redress the grievances articulated in the complaints. It was also submitted that the schools in question were violating the provisions of the Employees’ Provident Fund Act. Furthermore, the confidentiality of the complaint had been violated by the respondent, as the enquiry officer had summoned the complainant in front of the School Management to conduct the inquiry.

The contempt petition was admitted and the respondents were asked to file their replies. In reply to the contempt petition, the respondent stated that appropriate directions had been issued to all concerned on June 4, 2007 to ensure compliance of the orders of the High Court. It was also stated that on receipt of the complaints, the following action was taken at the end of the answering respondent after due inquiry.

  1. The recognition of Amar Ashram Vidyalaya was withdrawn vide order dated September 18, 2007.

  2. A Show Cause Notice dated October 10, 2007 was issued to Arun Modern Public School. On non-receipt of response from the School, an order dated November 30, 2007 was issued requiring the School to comply with the directions within one month, failing which its recognition would stand withdrawn with effect from the academic session of 2008-09.

  3. The identities of the complainants were kept secret by the answering respondent in compliance of the order of the Hon’ble Court while enquiring into the complaints.

It was, however, quite evident that the identity of the complainant teacher had not been kept secret as directed by the High Court, since Sangeeta Srivastava had been victimized by Arun Modern Public Secondary School and thrown out of her job without following the prescribed procedure. The School Management had also intimidated the teacher, forcing her to discontinue her protest and obtained her signature on the salary register and other papers to show that she had been paid her full salary, whereas she had been paid less than one third of the remuneration due to her. These facts were brought to the notice of the High Court through a representation by the complainant and the Court was pleased to pass the following order on November 4, 2008.

“It is submitted by the counsel for the petitioner that despite directions of the Court that the identity of the complainant teacher shall be kept secret, the identity of the teacher who made the complaint in respect of above school was not kept secret and the complainant teacher was dismissed from the service of the school. It is also informed that the salary is given by cheques, however, despite taking signatures on salary sheet, the cheques in respect of salary are not handed over. Directorate of Education shall make specific inquiry qua Ms. Sangeeta as to whether the cheques were issued to her and got encashed by her and a report be filed within four weeks from today.

When the matter came up for hearing on December 12, 2008, the respondent filed an additional affidavit stating that the enquiry was conducted in a general manner by a team consisting of three officers by examining/verifying all the school records. The teachers were called one by one to the office of the Principal who had been asked to leave and each teacher was asked to submit in writing his/her complaint against the Management. The deponaent also averred that in the process of inquiry, the identity of the complainant was never revealed to anyone. It was claimed that at present, the School was making salary payments to the teachers through their bank accounts and that only in the case of three teachers, bank accounts could not be opened for want of documentation. The respondent also stated that the School Management had informed that Sangeeta Srivastava had been absenting herself without any information with effect from February 16, 2008 and hence, her services had been terminated. The deponant had, however, issued a show cause Notice to the School on December 5, 2008, as it had not served any absence notice on the teacher before terminating her services.

In view of the inconsistencies and contradictions in the submissions made on behalf of the Directorate of Education, Common Cause requested the High Court for leave to file an affidavit on behalf of the complainant to put on record the factual position regarding the circumstances leading to the termination of her services. The desired permission has been granted and the matter has been listed for final hearing.

Madhumita Bhattacharjee
Supreme Court of India

A man is sitting quietly and reading his paper, when his wife sneaks up behind him and whacks him on the back of his head
with a big frying pan.
Man: What was that for?
Wife: What was the piece of paper in your pant pocket with the name Marylou written on it?
Man: Oh honey, remember two weeks ago when I went horseracing? Marylou was the name of one of the horses I betted
Three days later, he is once again sitting reading the paper, when his wife repeats the swatting act with the frying pan.
Man: What was that for this time?
Wife: Your horse called last night.

Jan - March 2009