Employees of private-aided schools cannot seek gratuity from BMC, says Bombay High Court

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Employees of private-aided schools cannot seek gratuity from BMC, says Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court recently held that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has no direct control on the functioning of private-aided schools by merely performing certain duties and exercising powers over such schools in the city. The HC accordingly ruled that no employee of such schools can make any claims against the civic body for the payment of gratuity.

A single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Gupte said, “Merely because the BMC performs certain duties and exercises certain powers under a regulatory framework of law vis-a-vis private primary aided schools and provides a grant in aid to such schools, it cannot be said that it has ultimate control over the affairs of these schools.”

The bench further said that such an employee may have a claim only against the school, i.e. his or her employer and not the corporation. The significant ruling comes in response to an appeal filed by the BMC challenging the ex-parte orders of an Industrial Court asking the civic body to pay Rs 10 lakh to Vrunda Kulkarni, a retired teacher of a private primary aided school.

While quashing the orders of the Industrial court, Justice Gupte said, “Though these orders are set aside in the present order, it will have to be clarified that Kulkarni will be entitled to make a claim for payment of gratuity against the school, who was in real term her employer.”

Source: Free Press Journal

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