Deduction of One-Day’s Salary for Contribution to PM CARES Fund Not Against Public Interest: Delhi High Court

The COVID-19 pandemic has regarded for a situation of all hands on deck. Everyone is to contribute, in their own way, even in small ways for the society. This is what is expected from the people of our country. However, in a shocking revelation, a DU professor filed a plea in the Delhi High Court. The Issue: Deduction of one-day salary of the professor for contribution to the PM CARES Fund by the University.

All for One, One for…None?

According to the Appellant, the Respondent University did not give all its employees sufficient notice of such deduction. Instead, it proceeded to deduct one-day’s salary even of those employees who had expressed their desire not to make a contribution.

The Appellant further argued that the Respondent- University couldn’t deduct voluntary contribution without anyone’s consent.

The Respondent, however submitted that the Chairman, UGC as well as Registrar of respondent-University issued a notification in March 2020 requesting for voluntary contribution for the pandemic. Moreover the authorities set 2nd April’20 as the final date for objection against such contribution. The authorities had relayed the above information to the members of the DU fraternity.

However, the Appellant missed the final date, since, he argued, that the University didn’t inform him of the same. Thus, he failed to raise the necessary objection.

The Court’s Stand

A Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula presided upon the matter.

The Court dismissed the plea of the Appellant stating that in this ‘internet age’ the validity of the argument that ‘the Appellant was unaware of such notification’ is absurd. Additionally it was difficult to believe that the Appellant who resided within the DU campus, couldn’t gather such information, either from colleagues, students, staff, etc. He could have approached the DU officials via telephone, email; he had ample opportunity to make himself aware.

Furthermore, the Appellant was not in a financial disarray or suppression to file for such a claim. Even the Defense Ministry had decided to contribute one day’s salary for such donation. The court

The Court stated that the plea was frivolous and was not against public interest. Instead, it is a shame that such a plea had been raised. It is a storm, that we must all ride together. Little drops of water, make the mighty ocean. The Court remarked, “only a stone-hearted person would prefer such a challenge”.