Published On : Tue, Feb 16th, 2016

Facing contempt raps, two State Secretaries appear in HC

Nagpur: Finding themselves on sleeper grounds for not implementing revised pay-scales for Adarsh Teacher Award winning teachers despite directives, the Principal Finance Secretary (Expenditure) Sitaram Kunte and School Education Principal Sectretary Nandkumar presented themselves before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court here on Tuesday. Due to non-communication between these two departments, the contentious issue pertaining to teachers got stuck in limbo, argued the State Government. Subsequently, the Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Pradeep Deshmukh recalled the contempt notices issued to the two Secretaries and adjourned the matter by four weeks.

In accordance with the School Education Department rules, the teachers winning the Adarsh Teacher Awards are entitled to additional wage increase twice. However, according to a September 2014 decision, the State Government decided to pay Rs 1 lakh lump sum as honorarium to award winning teachers in lieu of increase in salaries. But many of the award winning teachers were not paid the revised pay-scales previously. Therefore, Suresh Bhovte and 37 other teachers had filed a petition in the High Court. The Court subsequently directed the State Government to pay the teachers with the revised pay-scales. However, the Education Department did not act on the directives. Hence the teachers filed a contempt petition against the Principal Secretary of School Education Department. After hearing on the contempt petition, on December 9, 2014, the Principal Secretary assured the Court to implement the directives within four months.

But since then, no action was initiated to pay the teachers with revised pay-scales forcing the teachers to file a fresh contempt petition. At the previous hearing, the Principal Secretary Nandkumar had told the court that the Education Department had sent the proposal to Finance Department but the Finance Department did not take any decision. But in today’s hearing, the High Court ordered both the Secretaries to remain present in the court personally. Accordingly, the Principal Finance Secretary (Expenditure) Sitaram Kunte and School Education Principal Sectretary Nandkumar presented themselves in the court and clarified their stance. The High Court accepted the clarification and adjourned the proceedings by four weeks.

Adv A R Deshpande represented the petitioners while Adv Bharti Dongre appeared on behalf of State Government.