Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea challenging the deduction of one-day salary of a Delhi University teacher for contributing to the PM CARES Fund.
While dismissing the petition, the Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula asked itself a question that wouldn't a 'stone hearted person' only challenge the decision to deduct one day's salary for a pandemic?
The court further highlighted that:
'Further, keeping in view the severity and the spread of the pandemic, the deduction of one day's salary of the appellant (i.e. Rs.7,500/-) cannot be said to be contrary to public interest or harsh or inequitable.'
The order has come in a Letters Patent Appeal whereby Appellant's writ petition challenging the deduction of one day salary by the respondent-University for contributing to the PM CARES Fund to combat COVID-19 pandemic was dismissed.
The Appellant argued that that Respondent-University did not give all its employees adequate notice of such deduction and further it proceeded to deduct one day's salary even in respect of those employees who had expressed their desire not to make a contribution.
He further submitted that voluntary contribution cannot be deducted without anyone's consent.
The Delhi University, on the other hand, submitted that appeals were issued by the Chairman, UGC as well as Registrar of respondent-University in the month of March 2020 to voluntarily contribute to support the cause against the COVID-19 pandemic, while the last date for objection was 02nd April, 2020.
While noting that the present petition doesn't qualify as a PIL, the court observed that:
'The teachers and staff of Delhi University are neither financially weak nor suppressed to such an extent that they cannot approach this Court directly.'
After taking into record that the Appellant missed the deadline for raising his objections against the voluntary contribution decision, the court highlighted that:
'This Court takes judicial notice of the fact that we live in the 'internet age' wherein all people are active on social media. Prima facie, it is difficult to believe that the appellant who himself lives in the Delhi University campus did not know either from his colleagues or staff or University officials or on email or telephone or computer about the appeals issued by the Chairman, UGC or by the Registrar, Delhi University.'
On the issue of maintainability, the court observed that it is settled law that a writ petition is not a statutory proceeding and a Court is not bound to entertain and allow the same if the cause espoused by the petitioner is contrary to public interest and/or inequitable.
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