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AICTE order on pay scale for unaided college staff challenged

By A. Subramani

CHENNAI, APRIL 15. The All-India Medical and Engineering Colleges Association has challenged an All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) notice fixing minimum pay scale for teaching and non-teaching staff in private unaided professional colleges.

By its impugned order dated October 22, 2003, the AICTE sought to give effect to its March 2000 notification requiring even private unaided colleges to fix pay scale for staff members as per Fifth Pay Commission recommendations.

Describing them as `unreasonable restrictions,' the association president, T.D. Naidu, said the member-institutions recruited teaching staff and fixed their salaries and allowances, taking into account their qualifications, experience and expertise. Directing them to pay scales fixed by the Fifth Pay Commission, ranging from Rs. 13,500 to Rs. 22,400, was `totally unreasonable' and was "nothing but a direct interference with the administrative autonomy of these colleges."

The petitioner said even in the case of institutions run by State Governments, 80 per cent of the liability of the revised scale would be borne by the Centre. In the case of fully-funded Regional Engineering Colleges, the revised pay scale could be implemented only if the Board of Governors accepted the recommendations. "There is no compulsion to implement the pay scale even in respect of government institutions." He that thrusting it on private unaided institutions would be violative of Supreme Court rulings and the AICTE Act provisions.

The impugned decision was taken unilaterally, without taking into consideration the views of the institutions concerned, he said. "The right to establish educational institutions can be regulated, but such regulatory measures must be to ensure the maintenance of proper academic standards, atmosphere and infrastructure. Fixing a rigid pay scale structure, dictating the formation and composition of a governing body, etc., would be unacceptable restrictions." It also stated that many private unaided college managements would crumble under financial burden if the impugned stipulations were implemented, and sought a stay on the operation of the notification as well as the notice issued subsequently.

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