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No Salaries For Officers If Schools Are Not Given Basic Amenities: Uttarakhand HC

Apoorva Mandhani
1 July 2017 12:59 PM GMT
No Salaries For Officers If Schools Are Not Given Basic Amenities: Uttarakhand HC
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A week after restraining the State Government from purchasing luxury items for failing to equip government-run schools with minimum facilities, the Uttarakhand High Court on Friday vacated the order, but permitted luxury cars to be bought only by the approval of the Chief Secretary to the State. The Chief Secretary has been directed to record the necessity for buying luxury cars in the State...

A week after restraining the State Government from purchasing luxury items for failing to equip government-run schools with minimum facilities, the Uttarakhand High Court on Friday vacated the order, but permitted luxury cars to be bought only by the approval of the Chief Secretary to the State. The Chief Secretary has been directed to record the necessity for buying luxury cars in the State on a case to case basis.

The Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh thereafter directed the State Government to provide (a) basic infrastructural facilities like benches, desks, blackboards, separate hygienic toilets for boys and girls, potable drinking water etc. within a period of six months, (b) rest of the directions shall be implemented within a period of three months thereafter.

Warning that a failure on the Government’s part would entail salary cuts, the Bench observed, “It is made clear by way of abundant precaution that in case, direction no. (a) is not implemented in the time schedule, as provided hereinabove, all the gazetted officers in Education Department including Principal Secretary (Education), Secretary (Education), Deputy Secretary (Education), all the Directors in the Education Department shall not be paid their salaries for the month of January, 2018,”

The Court also reminded the State, in a “very subtle manner”, of Article 360 of the Indian Constitution, which pertains to imposition of a financial emergency. “We will not elaborate further, since this may have serious political ramifications. It is expected from the State functionaries to reduce their unproductive expenses on luxurious items and to divert the necessary funds for improving the education system at the grassroot level,” the Court added.

While the Court clarified that it is not oblivious to the financial health of the State Government, it opined that the State cannot be “permitted to shirk from its Constitutional responsibilities to provide the basic infrastructural facilities in the schools.”

The Court had, on 22 June, noted that the State had failed to implement an order dated 19 November, 2016, wherein it had issued the following mandatory directions to the State Government:



  1. To provide all the schools with benches, desks, blackboards (with chalk and duster), computers, well stack library and well equipped science laboratory within three months.

  2. The state government is directed to construct hygienic toilets for boys and girls separately. The head of the institution shall be personally responsible to maintain hygiene of toilets.

  3. The state government is directed to provide two sets of uniform to all students of government schools as well as aided-schools twice in a year.

  4. The state government is directed to provide mid-day meals to all students up to secondary level.

  5. The state government is also directed to ensure that all the school buildings should be well-lit and duly ventilated.

  6. The state government is directed to provide sufficient number of water purifiers as per the strength of the students in all the schools for drinking water.

  7. In winter closing schools, all the schools should keep adequate number of heaters and the building should be kept warm. In summer closing schools, the sufficient number of ceiling fans should be provided.

  8. The state government is directed to increase the grant for duly recognized and affiliated madrasa to at least Rs. 20,000 per annum under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.

  9. All the students belonging to SC & ST and BPL categories shall be paid suitable stipend.



  1. All primary schools, upper primary schools and secondary schools shall ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, in letter and spirit.


The Court had then summoned the Secretary (Education), State of Uttarakhand. The Secretary had informed the Court that the matter was taken up by the Finance Department of the State on 14 March, but no response had been received from it yet.

“It reflects a very sorry state of affairs. The peremptory directions were issued by the Court on 19.11.2016, to arrest the falling standards of education in the State of Uttarakhand and to provide at least bare minimum infrastructure and wherewithal in Government run schools… Since, the State Government miserably failed to provide minimum bare facilities in schools inter alia benches, desks, blackboards, hygienic separate toilets for boys and girls, Water Purifiers and ceiling fans, the  State Government is restrained from buying luxurious Cars, Furniture and Air Conditioners etc. till further orders of this Court,” it had thereafter ordered.

Subsequently, on 23 June, it had modified its order, permitting the State to buy “need based items i.e. water purifiers taking into consideration the summer season, that too, by the approval of the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand.” It had, however, clarified that the State is still not permitted to buy luxury cars, furniture, ACs, etc, till further Court orders.

Read the Judgment Here

                   


 
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