The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Sanjay Mehare at the Aurangabad seat last week ordered the Maharashtra government to provide scooters with retrofitted wheels adaptation to differently-abled teachers and also the non-teaching staff of Zilla Parishad schools. The bench was hearing a plea filed by 57 such teachers, who were denied the benefit.
The teachers sought the special scooter citing a March 2012 government resolution (GR) that provided for granting such scooters to differently-abled persons working as teaching or non-teaching staff at Zilla Parishad and all other kinds of schools.
Notably, the GR was issued after the Bombay High Court had ordered the state government to initiate appropriate steps for ensuring that the physically challenged teaching and non-teaching staff working in various types of schools like aided, unaided, primary, secondary, higher secondary, military school and college etc. are supplied with such adapted scooters.
In fact, in November 2015, the state while further acting on the HC orders had capped the charges of per scooter at Rs one lakh.
As per the procedure framed by the state's school education department, a person desiring to avail the benefit would have to submit a tender quotation of the rate of the scooter. The state government would cross check the same and pay the amount directly to the dealer of the scooter and wouldn't pay personally to the person seeking the benefit.
According to these 57 teachers from Jalgaon, the benefits under this GR were already extended to the non-teaching staff in the district, however, the same benefit was denied to them.
Having scrutinised the material on record, the bench said, "There is no room for doubt that these teaching and non-teaching staff of the Zilla Parishad in Maharashtra cannot be ignored."
"When the non-teaching staff of the Jalgaon Zilla Parishad have been granted the benefits, we do not find any logic or rhyme or reason for the government to deny the said benefit to the teaching staff," the bench said, adding, "We are, in fact, astonished and pained that though the government had rightly reacted to the orders of this Court (passed in 2012) and had issued the GR in March 2012, it is in 2021 that these 57 teachers, who are physically challenged, are at the door steps of this Court demanding justice, since they were ignored."
The judges accordingly issued a directive to the authorities in the state to ensure that no such person is denied this benefit and if at all there is a failure, the same would be viewed seriously.
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