Staff Reporter

"Industrial Disputes Act can be applied to educational institutions also in some cases"

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has held that a schoolteacher whose services are not utilised for a long time shall be deemed to be retrenched even if the authorities concerned had not passed any order to that effect.

Justice Makena Eswara Narasimha Patrudu passed the ruling while allowing a writ petition moved by a schoolteacher, V. Usha Rani, who was neither absorbed in any other school nor paid her salary after the Government aided school, in which she was working, at Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district was closed down after a fire accident which claimed 94 lives on July 11, 2004.

Though `retrenchment' was not defined under the Tamil Nadu Recognised Private Schools (Regulation) Act, 1973, the Judge said, the definition could be imported from the Industrial Disputes (ID) Act, 1947.

Pointing out that educational institutions were also treated as industries and employees of such institutions considered as workmen, the Judge said provisions of the ID Act could be applied to resolve some disputes in educational institutions too.

Relationship

He further said that there must be a master-servant relationship between the employer and the workmen in order to prove retrenchment. In this case, the relationship of master and servant between the petitioner and the respondents (Government) was not in dispute, the Judge pointed out and said since the services of the petitioner were not utilised for more than two years, it would amount to nothing but retrenchment.

While directing the State to absorb the petitioner in some other school with continuity of service, the Judge said the teacher would be entitled to all other service benefits, except the salary for the period when her services were not utilised. The concept of no work, no pay was applied in her case.

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