A two-judge Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna has held that for the lapse and inaction on the part of the Appellant-Institute, the Respondent-staff (Both teaching & non-teaching) cannot be made to suffer and deny the arrears of salaries as per the 6th Pay Commission recommendation, which otherwise the staff was entitled to.
The Court also observed that teachers were not supposed to approach the appropriate authority for getting the benefit as and when there is a revision of pay as per the pay commission recommendations.
An appeal was preferred before the Supreme Court by the Institution assailing the order of the High Court of Bombay which had declared that the Respondent-Staff was entitled to receive wages in pay scales under the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Condition of Service) Regulation Rules, 1981.
The High Court had also directed the Deputy (Director) Education to see that the teachers working with the Institute-Appellant received their wages and salaries accordingly.
The contention of the Appellants to restrict the arrears to three years preceding the filing of the Writ Petition was also rejected by the Court.
Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade appeared for the Appellants during the proceedings before the Court.
Earlier, when an interim order was passed by the Supreme Court in this matter, the Appellant-Institute had argued that it was willing to pay arrears as per the 6th Pay Commission for the preceding three years prior to the filing of the Writ Petition.
The only issue which was dealt with by the Court was whether the arrears ought to have been restricted to three years preceding the filing of the writ petition.
The Apex Court after considering the contentions of the parties held that after the 6th Pay Commission came into force, it was the duty of the Appellants to pay the salary to the teaching and non-teaching staff as per the applicable pay scale as per the 6th Pay Commission recommendation and for which the staff was not required to move before the Deputy Director (Education).
The Court rejected the contention of the Appellants that as the Respondents approached the Deputy Director (Education) belatedly and therefore limitation will come into play and that the respondents will only be entitled to the arrears of last three years preceding the filing of the writ petition.
"Respondents were compelled to approach the Deputy Director only when the petitioners though were required to pay the wages as per the applicable rules and as per the recommendation of 6th Pay Commission, failed to make the payment, the respondents were compelled to approach the Deputy Director (Education) thereafter," the Bench observed.
In the light of these observations, the Court dismissed the Special Leave Petitions with a direction to the Appellants to clear the arrears within a period of eight weeks from today failing which it shall carry interest at 9 %. The Deputy Director (Education) was also directed to see that the order is complied with by the Appellants and the amount disbursed to the Respondents.