Justice V. Kameshwar Rao Grants Relief To Four Teachers For Non-Payment Of Salaries By Richmond Global School

Justice V. K. Rao of the Delhi High Court simultaneously heard the petitions of four petitioners: Ritu Goel, Meenakshi Narang, Dishant Singh Rajawat and Pooja Mahajan (represented by Advocate K. B. Jha and Advocate S. S. Bagga) against a common respondent: Richmond Global School (represented by Senior Counsel Avnish Ahlawat, Advocate N. K. Singh, Advocate Tania Ahlawat and Advocate Palak Rohmetra) over the non-payment of salaries of the former by the latter.

Ritu Goel submitted her resignation in March 2021, wherein she prays for payment of her salary from February 2020 to March 2021 while returning the original documents (with respect to her qualifications) held by the respondent. The judge ordered the respondent to release the arrears of salary for the aforementioned period within a period of 4 weeks from September 1, 2021, at an additional interest rate of 7% p.a.; additionally, the judge fixed the date of September 27, 2021, at 10 A.M. for the petitioner to appear before the respondent to retrieve the original documents submitted by the petitioner at the time of her appointment.

Meenakshi Narang resigned from the respondent’s school from her contractual employment (with payment of consolidated salary) in March 2021, wherein the learned counsel for  the petitioner seeks the payment of the petitioner’s salary from October 2020 to March 2021. It is worth noting that the relief awarded to the petitioner is identical to the relief awarded to Ritu Goel in terms of the date of payment and the rate of interest charged upon the respondent; however, the date for retrieving the original documents by the petitioner was fixed at September 27, 2021, at 11 A.M. The judge provided a window of six weeks from September 1, 2021, for the respondent to submit a response to the issues raised by the petitioner: there is no contention of any contractual service under the Delhi School Education Act & Rules, wherein the petitioner did not challenge her contractual appointment at any point of her employment.

Dishant Singh Rajawat resigned from the respondent’s school in February 2021, wherein she seeks the payment of salary from September 2020. Her contractual appointment was similar to Meenakshi Narang, wherein the former’s payment was of a consolidated nature. It is worth noting that the petitioner never challenged her contractual appointment at any point of her employment even though the learned counsel for the petitioner held that the concept of contractual service does not exist under the Delhi School Education Act & Rules, 1973. The judge has asked the respondent to pay the aforementioned arrears to the petitioner within four weeks of September 1, 2021, at an interest rate of 7% p.a.; additionally, the judge asked the petitioner to appear before the respondent on September 27, 2021, at 2 P.M.  for retrieving the original documents by the petitioner, submitted at the time of appointment.

Pooja Mahajan was appointed as a PRT in the year 2012, wherein she was promoted as a TGT in the year 2019. It is worth noting that the monthly salary received by the petitioner remained the same that was being paid as PRT till March 31, 2021. The judge asked the respondent to pay the salary of the petitioner for the period between November 2019 and March 2021 with a rate of interest of 7% p.a.; additionally, the judge contended asked the petitioner to meet the respondent on September 27, 2021, at 3 P.M. for retrieving the original documents by the petitioner, submitted at the time of appointment.

In totality, the court held that the four petitioners were forced to resign owing to the difficult situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, exasperated by the non-payment of salary for more than 6 months. The court pulled up the respondent for impounding the original documents of the petitioners even though they have resigned from the respondent’s school, wherein Advocate K. B. Jha called Richmond Global School (the respondent) as an employer of educated bonded labourers.

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