Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Calcutta High Court disposes PIL focused on issues for grants for the in-service Shiksha Bandhus

The Calcutta High Court disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) focused on the issues for the in-service Shiksha Bandhus and have sought for various reliefs including grant of various service benefits to the Shiksha Bandhus.

The petitioners are the retired Shiksha Bandhus would state that they have no personal interest in the matter but are trying to expose the cause of the Shiksha Bandhus who are now discharging the duties without proper emoluments and benefits. In the writ petition the petitioners have listed out certain points of law.  

On perusal of the same, the Division Bench of Chief Justice  T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice  Hiranmay Bhattacharyya find the petitioners seeking for fixing appropriate remuneration and designation as per the qualification and job responsibilities of the Shiksha Bandhus.

The petitioners also question the action of the State Government in continuing the employees as contractual employees and meeting out discriminatory treatment and without regularising or absorbing them in the regular cadre.

Though the cause brought before the court appears to be laudable, the Court precluded from granting any relief in the petition filed as a public interest litigation as essentially the dispute or issue as a service matter and if it is the service matter, then a public interest litigation is barred. 

The Court noted that the petitioners themselves have listed out 10 petition numbers, some of which have been filed by an association consisting of Shiksha Bandhus as its members. In one such petition the prayer sought for by the association was for payment of actual remuneration as per 65% + 35% of Central and State component. Another  petition seeks for the direction for paying revised scale of pay under the 6th Pay Commission. Another petition has been filed for payment of arrears of salary. In another writ petition the remuneration which is much below than the Group-C and Group-D has to be increased. There is also a prayer for raising the service tenure upto 65  years. “Admittedly, out of the 10 writ petitions which have been listed out, eight writ petitions are still pending.”

The advocate for the petitioners would submit that the relief sought for in the petition is a comprehensive one and it would cover all Shiksha Bandhus.

However, noting that the relief sought for directly touches upon the service benefits which are to be extended to the Shiksha Bandhus, the Bench is unable to entertain the petition nor grant any relief as sought for by the petitioners in the petition.

The advocate for the petitioners also pointed out that several representations have been given commencing from the year 2016 to various authorities and none of the representations have been considered.  

The Bench is of the view that the aggrieved person has to agitate his grievances before the authorities or before the court and  find that 10 such writ petitions have been already filed, two of which have been disposed of.  

“In the light of the above, while declining the grant the relief sought for in the writ petition, we grant liberty to the petitioners to intervene anyone of the writ petitions which is pending before the learned Single Bench where the relief sought for is a comprehensive relief and the petitioners are the  association and assist the court in coming to a right conclusion”, the order reads.


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