Published: 01st June 2019
Delhi High Court grants interim protection of service to DU Physical Education prof forced to retire early
The High Court order has been hailed and welcomed by all teachers and by the DUTA, that had held a month-long dharna and relay hunger strike on the issue
A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, comprising of Justices Sistani and Jyoti Singh, after a detailed hour-long hearing, granted interim protection to Dr Meera Sood, an Associate Professor of Physical Education at the Vivekananda College. Sood had challenged the alleged illegal action of the College Principal when he decided to retire her at the age of 62 years.
Her legal Counsel, Sunil Mathews and Sabah Iqbal Siddiqui argued before the High Court that the UGC had stated in RTI replies and clarifications issued that the retirement age of Associate Professors in Physical education was 65 years and not 62. The Delhi University Teachers' Association released a statement in this regard, "It was also contended on her behalf that Delhi University had in the case of several other colleges had taken the position that the retirement age of such associate professors of Physical education was 65 years."
The High Court order has been hailed and welcomed by all teachers and by the DUTA, that had held a month-long dharna and relay hunger strike on the issue. "DUTA condemns the dishonest and negative role played by the counsels for DU and UGC, and demands their removal, as well that of the Officiating Principal of Vivekanand College, Dr Hina Nandrajog," said DUTA President Rajib Ray.
The Division Bench also took notice of the fact that the Governing Body of the Vivekananda College had itself taken the position that the retirement age of Dr Sood was 65 years and not 62 and yet the Principal of the said college had issued a letter that Dr Sood's tenure as a college teacher would come to an end on May 31, 2019. "Her plea was strongly opposed by legal Counsel appearing for Vivekananda College as well as the counsels appearing for Delhi University and UGC," said the DUTA statement "Dr Sood had not obtained any interim protection of her service from the Learned Single Bench and therefore was constrained to approach the Division Bench. The Division Bench while granting protection of service till the next date also recorded an undertaking that Dr Sood would return salaries paid if she was unsuccessful in her case and the retirement age was to be held at 62."