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