Only a 'stone-hearted person' would challenge deduction of one-day salary for COVID-19: HC
Updated Jun 16, 2020
"Keeping in view the severity and the spread of the pandemic, the deduction of one day's salary of the appellant cannot be said to be contrary to public interest or harsh or inequitable. This court is constrained to ask itself a question that wouldn't a ‘stone-hearted person' only challenge the decision to deduct one day's salary for a pandemic?" said a two-judge bench of the high court presided by Justices Manmohan and Sanjiv Narula.
The observation came while the court was hearing a petition filed by Prof Shreekant Gupta challenging the order of a single-judge bench of the court by which it had dismissed his plea challenging the Delhi University's decision to deduct one day's salary for contributing to the PM-CARES fund to combat COVID-19.
The court also said that teachers and staff of Delhi University are neither financially weak nor suppressed to such an extent that they cannot approach the court directly.
"This court is of the opinion that the present writ petition is not a PIL as it has not been filed in the prescribed format of a PIL," the bench noted.
During the course of hearing, the petitioner's counsel told the court that the university did not give all its employees adequate notice of such deduction and further it proceeded to deduct one day's salary even in respect of those employees who had expressed their desire not to make a contribution.
Rebutting his submissions, advocate Mohinder J.S. Rupal, the counsel appearing for the Delhi University told the court that that though the petitioner averred that he does not have personal interest in the litigation, yet the same has not been filed in the prescribed format with necessary undertakings as a PIL.
After hearing the submissions of both the sides, the court said, "we live in the internet age wherein all people are active on social media. Prima facie, it is difficult to believe that the appellant (professor) who himself lives in the Delhi University campus did not know either from his colleagues or staff or university officials or on email or telephone or computer about the appeals issued by the Chairman, UGC or by the Registrar, Delhi University."
While granting liberty to the petitioner to file a suit for recovery, the court noted that it is settled law that a writ petition is not a statutory proceeding and a court is not bound to entertain and allow the same if the cause espoused by the petitioner is contrary to public interest and/or inequitable - as is the case in the present matter.
The court added it is settled law that a writ petition is not a statutory proceeding and a court is not bound to entertain and allow the same if the cause espoused by the petitioner is contrary to public interest and inequitable - as is the case in the present matter.
"The rights and contentions of all parties are left open," the bench said while concluding its judgment and dismissing the petition.