BENGALURU: At least 532 principals and teachers of 450 Morarji Desai and Kittur Rani Chennamma residential schools spread across the state have gone without salaries for up to seven months. Now, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Vishwanatha Shetty has taken suo motu cognizance of this and ordered the Social Welfare Department to redress their grievances and ensure that the dues are paid at the earliest.
“It is needless to point out that the wages paid to an employee are not gratuitous payments. It is the amount earned by an employee for the work he/she has carried out,” Justice Shetty reminded the State Government, adding that the delay in paying salaries to the principals and teachers seriously affects their right to life (Article 21 of the Constitution), and the quality of education of children studying in these residential schools.
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The Lokayukta has also ordered that notice be issued to the Additional Chief Secretary and Commissioner of the Social Welfare Department and to the managing director of Karnataka Residential Educational Institutions.
The schools are run by the Social Welfare Department, and the principals and teachers have been working on contract, as per a report, based on which the order was pronounced. While the department, on August 26, ordered that these contractual employees should be given their pay, the principals’ and teachers’ association has claimed that they have not yet been paid.
Deputy Chief Minister and then Social Welfare Minister Govind Karjol had instructed the department to release the pending salaries at the earliest. Moreover, despite lack of salaries, these teachers and principals were pressed into various duties including SSLC exams, revaluation and other duties. The department officials have now been asked to submit a report to the Lokayukta in three weeks’ time.