Published: 09th December 2020
Delhi HC asks JNU to clear dues of retired prof who was denied pension for protesting on campus
The Court found the university's actions to be violative of the existing laws on matters of pension and ordered the University to release the pensionary benefits due to Dr Chakraborty
The Delhi High Court recently directed the Jawaharlal Nehru University to release the Provident Fund and all other financial payments related to Dr Kunal Chakraborty's pension, which the varsity had stopped for participating in protests on campus. The professor was served a show-cause notice on September 20, 2018. Dr Chakraborty, a faculty member of the Centre for Historical Studies since 1979, had retired from the university on May 31, 2019.
Judge Jyoti Singh found the university's actions to be violative of the existing laws on matters of pension and ordered the University to release the pensionary benefits due to Dr Chakraborty within the next four weeks along with arrears and interest accrued with effect from May 31, 2019. On his retirement, he was denied his dues by the JNU administration for allegedly having participated in a peaceful protest on the university campus with other faculty members.
The High Court, in its judgement, made some important observations on the matter of pensions, that reiterates the right of every employee to receive pension benefits on retirement. Pension according to the judgement, "is neither a bounty nor a matter of grace depending upon the sweet will of the employer… it is a payment for the past service rendered; and... a social welfare measure rendering socio-economic justice to those who in the heyday of their life ceaselessly toiled for the employer on an assurance that in their old age they would not be left in the lurch".
The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) welcomed the judgement and hoped that the judgement "will deter the university administration from taking recourse to such action against other faculty in future". "The order issued by the High Court has not only granted him justice but pronounced him victorious, against a vindictive, arbitrary and draconian administration. The JNU administration, under the current Vice-Chancellor, has shown clear disdain for retired faculty including Professor Emeritus. It is time that the Vice-Chancellor showed more grace towards faculty who have given their entire academic lives to make JNU the world-class university, that it is," said the teachers' association.