The high court on Monday directed the education department to send an official to a schoolteacher’s home with her retirement dues. The money had been withheld for six years as she had filed a defalcation suit in 1981 against the secretary of the school where she taught.
“Since no case is pending against the teacher, I direct the state education department to pay her statutory dues along with 10 per cent interest as soon as possible. As the teacher is now a senior citizen, the principal secretary of the department will have to send an officer to her home to hand over her dues,” ordered Justice Tapen Sen.
The judge also directed the state government to identify the people responsible for harassing the teacher by refusing to disburse her dues. “The state authorities are directed to deduct the interest amount from the salaries of employees responsible for the delay.”
The order was passed on a petition moved in September by Manjushree Bhattacharya, who retired in July 2002 after serving as an assistant teacher of Madhyamgram Rajlaxmi Vidyamandir for 39 years.
“Nobody in the education department has informed my client about the reason behind the delay in the payment of her dues,” Manjushree’s counsel Ekramul Bari told the court.
Justice Sen had asked the district inspector of schools (DIS), North 24-Parganas, to file a report showing reasons behind the delay.
On Monday, the DIS stated in his report that Manjushree had lodged a case against the school secretary accusing him of defalcating funds. “As the case is pending in court, the school authorities did not give clearance certificate for disbursing her pension.”
The judge asked the state lawyer whether any case was pending against the teacher. The lawyer said: “No.” The judge asked her: “Then why are the state authorities waiting to disburse her pension?”
“The order has shown that even common people can get justice,” said Manjushree.