HC to edu dept bosses: Pay up dues to varsities, or forget your salaries - Hindustan Times
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HC to edu dept bosses: Pay up dues to varsities, or forget your salaries

By, Patna
May 18, 2024 09:32 PM IST

Staying all the orders of the department to stop salary of vice chancellors and registrars or serve show-cause notices to them, the court observed that “till further orders, the respondents are directed not to take any coercive action against the universities and its officials”.

The Patna High Court on Friday directed Bihar’s education department to release funds already approved in the budget of state universities for the financial year 2023-24 within 10 days, failing which salaries of top officials of the department shall not be paid.

Patna high court (HT file)
Patna high court (HT file)

The education department is headed by additional chief secretary K K Pathak, a senior IAS officer.

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“All dues out of the last year’s budget, which have not been paid to the universities, must be paid. If funds under already approved budget of the financial year 2023-24 are not released by the respondents concerned Nos.3, 4, 5 and 6 (education department’s additional chief secretary, secretary, director (higher education) with 10 days from today, then the their salary shall not be paid,” said the bench of Justice Anjani Kumar Sharan.

Holding that the universities would pay pension and salary to all the retired and working employees in accordance with law, the bench made it clear that bank accounts of all the aggrieved universities “shall continue to operate and education department shall release the entire budgetary fund earlier approved for the financial year 2023-24 to all the universities within the deadline fixed by this Court”.

Staying all the orders of the department to stop salary of vice chancellors and registrars or serve show-cause notices to them, the court observed that “till further orders, the respondents are directed not to take any coercive action against the universities and its officials”.

“Through its May 3 order, the court had given an opportunity to all the parties to resolve the dispute amicably. When it becomes unsuccessful, this court proceeds to decide the issues on merits,” the bench observed, fixing June 25 as the date of final hearing in the case.

On May 3, the HC had put in abeyance the education department order to freeze bank accounts of state universities, which had led to stoppage of salary payment to thousands of teachers and employees and pension to thousands of retired persons, besides affecting exams and other routine activities. It had also observed that “no coercive actions shall be taken against the universities and its officials till further orders”.

For months now, there has been a standoff between the department and the Raj Bhawan.

While Pathak has been insistent on vice chancellors attending the meetings called by the department by any secretary, director or deputy director to review the functioning and expenditure of their universities, the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of state universities, has made it clear that he could not do so. As a result, neither Pathak has been attending senate meetings/meeting called by Chancellor nor have VCs been attending department’s meetings.

Even during Holi and Eid, thousands of working and retired employees had to go without salary and pension.

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