"A resolution was passed at the varsity's Executive Council (EC) meeting that DU will challenge the judgement before Delhi High Court," said Abha Dev Habib, a DU Executive Council member. In 1987, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had issued an official memorandum stating that the pension scheme for DU teachers would be changed to a monthly scheme and money would be deducted from employees' salaries for payment towards a "general provident fund (GPF)" unless they opted for a "cumulative provident fund (CPF)", which is paid as a lump sum at the time of retirement. UGC had allowed teachers five months -- between May and September 1987 -- to give their decision in writing.
DU, however, granted several extensions for teachers to change their options. The memorandum was adopted by DU upon approval from the Vice Chancellor, failing which they were "deemed to have come over to the Pension Scheme". The high court, in a judgement this April, allowed the staffers to avail of the benefits even if they had not opted for the scheme. A single-judge bench of high court had divided the petitioners into three categories -- those who exercised the CPF option after the deadline, those who exercised it within the deadline and those who did not exercise the option at all.
"According to the judgement, Category I and Category III were entitled to the GPF, which emerged as a lucrative deal over the years. However, Category II staffers were denied the benefits under the scheme," said advocate
Tanuj Khurana, who represented the group of teachers. On May 27, DU had constituted a task force chaired by treasurer Janki Kathpalia, to "suggest the right pathways for ensuring implementation of the decisions from the judgement, keeping in mind the welfare of all employees, serving as well as retired. "However, the task force decided not to implement the decision and challenge the HC judgement. That stand was accepted by the Vice Chancellor at the EC meeting," Habib said.
Kathpalia, meanwhile, refused to comment on the reasons behind the task force arriving at the said decision. The move to challenge the HC judgement rather than implementing the scheme has come under attack from the varsity's teachers. "As per University records, over 2,500 employees were supposed to benefit from the judgement. The varsity's plan to challenge the decision is a deliberate move to deny the post- retirement livelihood and basic human rights of teachers," said Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) President Nandita Narain.