Delhi High court has repressed the termination letter of an Ad Hoc Teacher who was on a contract basis at the respondent college. She was an assistant professor and it is a rule to renew the terms of contractual teachers for 120 days after giving them a break of one day between the two terms.
She asked the respondent college to grant her maternity leaves along with all the maternity benefits which should be granted by the authority under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. She was facing some combination during her pregnancy so she sought leave from 14.2.2019 till 24.5.2019. She even made multiple representations but didn’t receive any response from the respondent college. So, Delhi High Court ordered the college to put back the appellant professor at her respective position.
The charge accused against the respondent: The Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Asha Menon inflicted a cost of Rs.50000 on the respondents for giving arbitrary and inherited reasons for not renewing the term of the appellant. On 27.3.2019, she had a communication with the authority that the college didn’t force her to join the college and she should also inform the date at which she is deciding to join.
Thereby she was still enrolled at her respective position. A few days later, she received a message from the authority that the college does not intend to give any kind of maternity benefits to a contractual based teacher. Therefore, they terminated her request for maternity leave. On 23.5.2019, she went back to college to pursue her duties. But, after five days she had been informed that her duties are already terminated on 18.3.2019. So she does not have any point to get back to work again or being assigned any work.
Statement of the Appellant’s Advocate: Senior advocate Mr. Darpan Wadhwa was in favor of the appellant and he added to his statement that the appellant is the senior-most Ad-hoc Assistant Professor of the English Department in the respondent college. Her duty was illegally and unlawfully terminated while other professors who are her junior we’re granted an extension from May onwards.
The Advocate Mr. Wadhwa further added to the statement that even if there is a need for more ad-hoc teachers, the last come had to go first not the senior-most teacher and that’s when she is disclosing her availabilities. Mr. Wadhwa said that as the professor asked for the maternity leaves and all the maternity better, her ad-hoc appointment was not extended and therefore it is liable to quash the termination letter.
Statement of the respondent: Advocate Mr. Mohinder JS Rupal, who was appearing for the appellant’s college, submitted that according to rules and regulations, no ad-hoc teacher shall be granted any maternity leave and the appellant cannot receive any benefit or claim extension of her tenure which was already terminated in March.
Senior Advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, who was in favor of the appellant’s college, said that the college did not get any information from the appellant whether she would be continuing to perform her duty as a teacher. So, if they appointed any ad-hoc teacher in place of the appellant who is ready to take semester classes, and even if he or she is junior the appellant, they did not violate any law. He further stated that it was written in the appellant’s clause that the respondent can terminate her letter if they wish to.
Order of the court: The court observed that the respondent does not have any strong reason to terminate the appellant’s letter and they observed that when the appellant had expressed her availability, others were appointed as ad-hoc on the following day.
On account of the validity of the termination order, the court noticed that the appellant has the right to be considered and could not be subjected to any arbitrary decision when there is an of an ad-hoc assistant. In light of all the observations, the court quashed the termination letter and ordered the respondent college to send their appointment letter to the appellant within one week.
~ Kanika Khatri