This article on ‘Legal Rights of a Private Teacher in India’ was written by Monika Yadav, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Every person does have certain rights, as well as any violation of such rights is a threat to the state. And all these threats could be even more heinous if such victims are educators or youth mentors. As per the UNESCO-CETE State of Education Report for India 2021, nearly 9.7 million teachers are teaching in India. A UN report states that the COVID-19 shutdown in India affected around 2.7 million teachers, 95% of whom worked in private institutions. The whole data indicates private school teachers’ system vulnerabilities and insecurity.
So, in this article, we will be knowing about the rights of private teachers and what sought-of remedies they can claim when such rights have been violated.
1- Thrown for no cause
It’s the most prevalent malicious act committed today. If tribunals are existing, challenge the order through the court. Private school teachers could file a civil lawsuit for declaration, required injunction[i], and debt recovery if the tribunals aren’t present. A redress for private teachers that has been exclusively available to govt teachers is additionally included, enabling them to file a writ within that High Courts. Teachers are teachers, regardless of whether private or public, because they’re the saviors and role models of youth.
This was decided in the situation of Marwari Balika Vidyalay vs. Asha Shrivastava[ii]. Within that case, Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra acknowledged through his decision, “Regardless of whether government or private school, both conduct public duties, i.e. providing education to children in their organizations across the whole of India.” Similar conclusions have been achieved again by the court in the matter of Ramesh Aluwalia v. State of Punjab[iii], where it specified that schools act in public functions and are therefore subject to writ petitions.
2- Whenever you question your authority, you will be dismissed!!
The Hon’ble Justice Ajay Rastogi established in the case of Somesh Thapliyal vs. V.C. HNBGU[iv], that, “This court will consider judicial cognizance of the fact if an employee brings initiation through questioning this same employment conditions, which might price him/her work on its own.” This suggests that the authorities are conscious of the workplace practices within those institutions as well.
An employer always occupies a dominant position, whereas we have found that employees on the receiver side can rarely complain about arbitrary nature in terms and conditions of employment. As a result, the employer seems to have the power to impose employment terms, that are both unethical and immoral and surely infringe the principles of ‘Equity and Justice’ underlying in our Constitution’s “Basic Structure.”
3- Job loss as a result of cataract surgery
During the particular instance of Sarika Dabas vs. Modern Child Public School (Delhi High Court), the respondent Modern Child Public School delivered the appellant Sarika Dabas the notice while she was at work. After sending an email to the respondent letting them inform them she needs some time off because of cataract surgery, she had been fired.
So when the court discovered that the defendant’s conduct was ethically wrong and in violation of law, she was indeed a permanent teacher who had collaborated for the institute for 11 years. Furthermore, the respondent has not started in compliance with Section 8(2) of the DSEA (Delhi School Education Act and Rules), something that requires express permission from the Director of Education before actually terminating a teacher.
Such a situation demonstrates that justice was rendered to every teacher who fought for their rights.
4- Before joining, always request an appointment letter
The governing body/managing committee of the school shall issue a written appointment letter to every employee of the school, according to Section 5.2.4 and Section 5(b)(i) of the CBSE Affiliation Bye-Laws and CISCE Affiliation Bye-Laws, respectively. The letter should contain the employee’s service terms of the agreement, such as designation, probation, pay scale, and other perks with which he or she is empowered. And keep in mind that if management fails to provide you with the appointment letter, they will face penalties.
5- Do Not Temporize Filing The Lawsuit
The maxim “Vigilantibus non dormantibus jura subvevient” implies that equity benefits only the vigilant and not the dormant. As a result, your tardiness should not jeopardize the vitality and efficacy of the remedy you’ve been provided.
6- Right to a Provident Fund
If provident funds (PFs) are not mentioned in the offer letter, a claim has been made. In paragraph (xcvi) of the Employee’s Provident Fund Scheme, 1952, it is stated that PFs seem to be relevant to educational institutions in India. Furthermore, in Dav College v. RPFC[v], the Supreme Court upheld the legitimacy of this system.
7- Get Your Gratuity
The Payment of Gratuity Act of 1972 grants entitlement to gratuity toward an employee who has been in the job for more than five years. This is one of the employee’s retirement benefits. It is a one-time payment made to an employee in appreciation for their service. The sum of the gratuity grows in proportion to the rise and no of years served.
Moreover, if the employee is fired for lawless or unorganized behavior, he or she relinquishes this entitlement.
The Supreme Court ruled in Birla Institute of Technology v/s State of Jharkhand & Ors.[vi] that teachers are legally allowed to gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act of 1972.
8- A salary that is timely and reasonable
The entire purpose of providing service to an employee is to provide a fair and adequate payout. Equal pay for equal work is guaranteed by Article 39(d) of the Constitution. The Equal Remuneration Act and the Payment of Wages Act require employees to be paid on time and fairly. If a worker is not getting his or her remuneration according to the employment agreement, he or she may bring a civil action for salary arrears. According to the legislation, a worker cannot be paid below the legally mandated minimum wage.
9- Suitable Work Conditions
Every employee has the right to work in a protected environment with basic facilities and sanitation. Overtime pay and a safe transportation facility Aside from the weekly holiday, a half-hour break.
10- Right to Exit
An employee is entitled to compensate for public holidays as well as other types of leave including such leave, sick leave, special leave, as well as other leaves. Workers are eligible for 12 days of leave yearly for every 240 days worked. An adult worker can take one paid leave every 20 days, while a younger person can take one every 15 days. Employees may take emergency leave from the notice period if the work contract does not prohibit it.
11- Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act of 2013 protects women from sexual harassment at work. Sexual harassment is however punishable by up to three years in prison, with or without a fine, under the IPC.
For institutions with ten or more employees, an internal disciplinary committee must be formed to assist victims of sexual harassment. The law requires these organizations to have a grievance redressal policy as well as established procedures that outline what denotes sexual harassment, punishments, grievance redress mechanisms, and so on. A senior woman, two other employees, and a non-governmental member should also serve on the committee.
Teachers must remain steadfast against the dominance of this restrictive management and must not reduce their guard right in front of them. Because our culture inherits Guru Shishyaprampara’s legacy rather than the management of Shishyaprampara’s. These are certainly valid rights that were possessed by a private teacher.
- Shobhit Rawat, Rights and remedies of private school teachers, Legal Services India, Available at- https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-9230-rights-and-remedies-of-private-school-teachers.html
- 8 Important Rights of Private Employees Under the Indian Labour Laws, iPleaders Blog, 4 July 2018, available at: https://blog-ipleaders-in.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/blog.ipleaders.in/8-must-know-rights-for-every-private-employee/?amp=1&_gsa=1&_js_v=a9&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&aoh=16645253402696&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&share=https%3A%2F%2Fblog.ipleaders.in%2F8-must-know-rights-for-every-private-employee%2F
- Ashok KM, ‘Remedies Discrimination Suffered By Teachers’: Supreme Court Upholds Amendment Covering Teachers Under Payment Of Gratuity Act, LiveLaw, 29 August 2022, available at: https://www-livelaw-in.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.livelaw.in/amp/top-stories/supreme-court-upholds-amendment-covering-teachers-under-payment-of-gratuity-act-independent-schools-federation-of-india-2022-livelaw-sc-719-207809?amp_gsa=1&_js_v=a9&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&aoh=16645253402696&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&share=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.livelaw.in%2Ftop-stories%2Fsupreme-court-upholds-amendment-covering-teachers-under-payment-of-gratuity-act-independent-schools-federation-of-india-2022-livelaw-sc-719-207809
[i] Section 39 of Specific Relief Act
[ii] 2019 SC
[iii] 2012 (12) SCC 331
[iv] 2021 SC
[v] 2018 SC
[vi] 2019 SC