Delhi HC Stays The Charge-Sheets Issued Against Protesting Teachers Of JNU By The University

Delhi HC Stays The Charge-Sheets Issued Against Protesting Teachers Of JNU By The University

Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed an inquiry ordered by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration against teachers for participating in a protest march organized by students.

The present petition was filed by the teachers to challenge the action taken by Jawaharlal Nehru University (Respondent) against teachers of the University for participating in strikes/protests organised by students. The University had invoked Rule 14 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 which prohibits 'Government Servants' for resorting to or abetting strikes pertaining to service.

The primary submission of the Petitioners was that the aforesaid Rules do not apply to teachers of JNU as they do not fall under the ambit 'Government Servant'. Further, the Academic Ordinances of the University do not contain any reference to the adoption/incorporation of the CCS (CCA) Rules or CCS (Conduct) Rules. It was also submitted by the Petitioners that the services of teachers at JNU is governed by the JNU Act and the Ordinances passed thereto. Therefore, the Respondent erred in framing chargesheet and issuing show cause notices to the teachers.

The Petitioners relied upon the judgmental of the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in Suchitra Mitra v. Union of India which had held that:

' "…The Professors of the University are neither members of a service nor do they hold a civil post under the Union nor they are in the service of local or other authority. CCS(CCA) Rules would, therefore, have no application to a Central University…"

In addition to this, the Petitioners also argued that Regulation M-7 of the Academic Rules, which lays down a penalty for organising and participating in strikes/protests, does not apply to teachers. 'The aforesaid regulation speaks of rustication for one semester and it is clear that Rustication would not apply to teachers', they mentioned. It was also alleged that the chargesheet misrepresents a peaceful protest and is contrary to evidence on record.

Taking the arguments of the Petitioners on record, the Single Bench of Justice Suresh Kait granted an interim relief by staying both the chargesheet and the show cause notices issued by the Respondent University against the Petitioners.

Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Akhil Sibal with advocates Abhik Chimni, Nupur Agarwal and Maanav Kumar represented the petitioners.