Decided on August 01,2005



SUNIL KUMAR SINHA, J. - (1.) A short but important question arises for consideration in this writ petition as to whether a principal of the aided non-Government Educational Institution is an "employee" within the meaning of Section 2(e) of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") and the benefit of the Payment of Gratuity can be extended to him or not?
(2.) Petitioner No. 1 is the Administrator and petitioner No. 2 is the Principal, Lahidhi Multipurpose Higher Secondary School, Chirimiri, Distt. Korea (C.G.). This is a non-Governmental aided higher secondary school. The case of the petitioners is that late Roopnarayan Chaturvedi was appointed in this institution on July 20, 1966. He died during service on September 21, 2001. His wife namely Smt. Vidyavati Chaturvedi, respondent No. 1 herein, made an application for Payment of Gratuity before the management of the institution but the same was dismissed. Thereafter, she moved to the Controlling Authority under the Payment of Gratuity Act and the said authority passed his order dated January 31, 2004 and awarded a sum of Rs. 1,99,298/-as the amount of gratuity payable to respondent No. 1. The contention of the petitioners is that since the deceased was a "teacher" in their institution, therefore, he is not an "employee" within the meaning of the aforesaid Act, as such, no benefit of payment of gratuity can be extended to his legal representative (respondent No. 1) and the application before the controlling authority was not maintainable. The controlling authority erred in law in exercising jurisdiction under Section 4 of the aforesaid Act and the order passed by controlling authority should be quashed.
(3.) Reply on behalf of respondent No. 1 has been filed. It is contended by respondent No. 1 that her husband was initially appointed as a teacher in the said institution in the year 1966 but he, was promoted to the post of Principal by the Management vide order dated March 1, 19^9 and the aforesaid order of the Management was approved and confirmed by the competent authority of the Government vide order dated November 6, 1989. Copies of these two orders have been placed on record as Annexures R-1/1 and R-J/2. It is contended by her that the principal of an aided non-Government educational institution is an "employee" within the meaning of Section 2(e) of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 and he will be entitled for the benefits of gratuity under the law. By way of filing rejoinder the petitioners have contended that though the deceased was working as a Principal, but he himself had filed an application dated December 14, 1996 before the President that he is resigning from the post of Principal and he can serve the institution as a teacher in English. They have submitted the copy of the resignation letter as Annexure P-3. They have also contended vide para 2 of the rejoinder that at the time of holding the post of Principal, the deceased was also taking 3 periods of English subject in different classes daily, therefore, the deceased was doing the work of a teacher also. They have annexed copy of the time-table as Annexure P-4. There is an endorsement in the aforesaid resignation letter dated December 14, 1996, "to be put before the Managing Committee". No documents in relation to the acceptance of this letter has been filed nor it has been pleaded that the resignation was accepted and the deceased after resignation from the post of Principal was working as a teacher in the said institution.;

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