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High court stays order to pay staff from student’ fund

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The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed AAP’s decision asking 12 fully funded DU colleges to pay outstanding salaries to staff from the Students Society Fund. Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) made a plea which Justice Navin Chawla passed. The plea was regarding how the students fund cannot be used for anything except student welfare activities.

DUSU’s counsel stated clearly that the fund cannot be used for paying salaries. Aakanksha Kaul, the advocate representing DU also supported the students’ petition. DUSU has challenged Delhi government’s October 16 order. This asked 12 colleges to pay salaries of over 1500 staff from the student’ fund. They said that the amount for salaries of this non teaching and teaching staff should be released within two weeks. Moreover, the college staff haven’t been paid for the last three months.

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Twelve fully funded colleges

Delhi Government fully funds twelve colleges affiliated with the Delhi University. The colleges are: Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Acharya Narendra Dev College. In addition to these, the list includes – Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences, IGIPESS, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College. Women’s college include Bhagini Nivedita College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women. The remaiing colleges are Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Maharaja Agrasen College (DU), Maharshi Valmiki College of Education.

Transfer of case

High court issued notice to sought replies on DUSU’s petition from Directorate of Higher Education, Delhi University and Delhi government. Justice Chawla orally observed that the state should pay the salary amount to college staff. However, the case has been transferred to Justice Jyoti Singh as similar matters are pending before her.

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DUSU’s plea

Advocate Jivesh Tiwari who was standing for DUSU, emphasised that the student’ fund is collected from the students. Hence, it does not come from the government. In addition to this, he urged the high court to stay the operation of the government’s decision.

The plea said, “Such arbitrary and illegal usage of the money raised by the students for their academic welfare has forced the petitioner who represents the students of the university as a union, to come to this court for quashing of such illegal, unjust and arbitrary order that is unjust and violative of the rights of the students as a whole.”

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It said that according to UGC guidelines, only 11 heads can be comprised as income and 34 heads as expenditure. As per the plea, The salaries can be paid only using the heads under “income”.

It also said , “This does not include the fund collected by the students under the societies head or any amount kept in that corpus fund with regard to the SSF can be utilised for this purpose,” the plea said. “…the impugned actions are bad in law and violate the rights of each and every student that has contributed to such SSF and usage of the such Funds for the payment of salaries will be highly objectionable as their lies no reason or precedent for the usage of such student funds for payment of salaries from colleges which are 100 per cent funded by the respondent no.3 (Delhi government).”

Delhi Government’s order

The AAP government order has said, “Having taken notice that salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff of colleges, affiliated to Delhi University and fully funded by the GNCT of Delhi, are outstanding/not being paid due to ongoing Special Audit/non-release of Grant-in-Aid, the Hon’ble Dy CM has ordered/permitted : outstanding salaries to the Teaching and Non-Teaching staff be released immediately from the SSF as has been done in the past, till the process of Special Audit is completed/further installments of GIA (under the Salary Head) are released.”

Additionally, the order said, “If any salaries remain unpaid after the SSF has been exhausted, the remaining amount will be paid by the Directorate of Higher Education after receipt of formal request from the concerned college(s).”

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