The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted a sum of Rs. 50,00,000 as compensation to the husband and wife who were illegally terminated from employment while working as teachers in a private school.

A Division Bench of Justice G.S. Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan held, “… the argument of the learned counsel that there should not have been reinstatement directed by the Tribunal is without any basis since the procedure has been prescribed under the Act and the relevant Rules and the school is a beneficiary of a recognition granted to it by the State Government. As noticed above, it is bound by the Rules and the provisions of the Act but unfortunately neither of these provisions were adhered to at any point of time before the termination and nor has the school produced its own rules for which an adverse inference has to be taken against it.”

The Bench said that the compensation element as such could be increased on the account of the school having failed to follow the procedure prescribed under the Rules.

The Court further observed, “… keeping in view the fact that there has been bad blood between the management and the respondents-employees in as much as three of their children had also been forced to leave the school where they were getting free education on account of the employment of their parents.”

Senior Advocate Akshay Bhan appeared on behalf of the appellant i.e., the school while Advocate Parveen Shekhawat appeared for the respondents i.e., the teachers.

In this case, the appeal was filed against the decision of the Appellate Tribunal comprising of the District Judge under the Haryana Education Act, 2003 and the subsequent order passed by the Single Judge wherein the writ petitions were dismissed.

The District Judge concluded that the employees being husband and wife were confirmed employees whose termination was done on the basis of the notices which had been issued prior to the amendment of the Staff Service Regulations.

The couple was held entitled for reinstatement in service with immediate effect with full back wages/salary along with an interest @6% per annum from the date of the termination of service onwards till final realization. The school, therefore, approached the High Court.

The High Court after considering the arguments of the counsels of both parties asserted, “… we are of the considered opinion that the ends of justice would be served if Mrs. Parveen Shekhawat is paid a total amount of Rs.20,00,000/- as compensation on account of the illegal action of the school management in terminating the services without any enquiry as she was drawing around Rs.13,000/- at the time of appointment and Rs.48,000/- at the time of termination.”

The Court further directed that the husband would be entitled to compensation of Rs. 30,00,000 as he was earning more than his wife and that the compensation shall be paid to the respondents within a period of one month.

The Court also said, “In case the needful is not done, the respondents will be free to enforce the orders of reinstatement, as directed by the Tribunal and claim all necessary back wages.”

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the appeals by the school.

Cause Title- M/s. G.D. Goenka School v. Parveen Singh Shekhawat and others

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