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Bombay HC Raps Mumbai Univ For “Contemptuous Conduct”, Orders It To Pay Up & Reinstate Don

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The Bombay High Court on Friday has directed the Alkesh Dinesh Mody Institute for Financial and Management Studies, University of Mumbai to pay the salary and allow the director cum professor Mr Satish V. Ratnaparkhi to work further in the University.

The Bombay High Court earlier had made similar directions to the Mumbai University, which it fails to comply with, on which the court made a strong observation, “The Court is aghast by this contemptuous conduct of the Petitioner University. Despite specific directions given by this Court as far back as 16th December, 2019 vide its reasoned Order, directing the Petitioner University to allow the Applicant / Respondent to continue as a Director of the Institute and pay his salary, the Petitioner University has flagrantly disregarded the direction of this Court,”.

The respondent/Mr Satish V. Ratnaparkhi was working as a director cum professor in the Management Institute of the Petitioner University had filed an interim application before the High Court seeking directions to the petitioner Mumbai University to release the salary of the respondent director, whereby the matter was heard by Justice S.J. Kathawalia.

In the year 2012, the Applicant / Respondent was appointed as Professor – Cum – Director (Open), at the Alkesh Dinesh Mody Institute for Financial and Management Studies, University of Mumbai, as per the recommendation of the Committee constituted under Section 78 of Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, after following all the due and prescribed selection process by the Petitioner University.

By an order issued by the Registrar of the Petitioner University, the Applicant / Respondent was retired from the said post on the ground that he had completed 60 years of service. The Applicant / Respondent filed an Appeal before the College Tribunal (‘Tribunal’), challenging the Order of the Registrar of the Petitioner University. The Tribunal had initially while admitting the Appeal, passed the status quo order. However, according to the Applicant / Respondent, pursuant to the said ‘status quo’ order, he was given charge of the Director only on paper.

At the time of hearing the Appeal, the Applicant / Respondent relied upon the Government Resolution on 5th March, 2011, as per which the tenure of the Principals / Directors in any government college affiliated to non-agricultural Universities has been extended upto 65 years, with a rider that on completion of 62 years, there shall be a performance review of the incumbent. The Tribunal by its Order issued on 20th September, 2019, allowed the Appeal of the Applicant / Respondent and set aside the Order / letter issued by the Registrar of the Petitioner University. The Petitioner University filed a Writ Petition before the Bombay High Court being impugning the said Order of the Tribunal, and moved the High Court on 16th December, 2019.

The Learned Single Judge of the Bombay High Court on16th December, 2019 stayed the order of the Tribunal and passed an Order in which it was held that“the Petitioner University shall allow the Applicant / Respondent to continue as a Director of the Institute and that he shall be paid his salary, etc”.

Thereafter, the Bombay High Court said that the Petitioner University has not paid the salary to the Applicant / Respondent since 20th September, 2019 i.e. the date on which the Order was passed in favour of the Applicant / Respondent by the Tribunal.

“The Petitioner University has also flagrantly breached the Order of this Court dated 16th December, 2019, inter-alia directing the Petitioner University to pay the Applicant his salary, by not paying the salary to the Applicant / Respondent even from the date of the Order i.e. 16th December, 2019, thereby leaving the Applicant with no choice but to move this Court and seek direction to the Petitioner University to release his salary”, said by the Court.

The Applicant / Respondent had stated in his Application that since the last 15 months he was surviving on his savings, which are now exhausted and it is becoming difficult for him to sustain himself and he is burdened with a loan and his financial condition is deteriorating day by day.

The Learned Advocate appearing for the Petitioner University on instructions said that the Petitioner University intends to file an SLP before the Hon’ble Supreme Court impugning the Order issued on 16th December, 2019. However, since the SLP was not fled till date, the Petitioner University had not paid dues of the Applicant / Respondent.

The High Court said that it was an acknowledged and well recognized fact that the University of Mumbai is one of the oldest and premier Universities of India imparting education to millions of students over the years. It is incomprehensible to this Court, as to how an Institute of such stature which seeks to imbibe in its students, inter alia values of honesty, discipline and good governance, can justify breaching the Order of the Court on 16th December, 2019.

Therefore, the High Court of Bombay directed that the Petitioner University will forthwith pay the dues of the Applicant / Respondent, by depositing the same in the bank account of the Applicant / Respondent, and the Petitioner University will also continue to make payments on or before 5th day of each month to the Applicant / Respondent, until any further orders are passed by this Court or by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, varying or discontinuing such payment.

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