India Education
Will NALCO absorb school staff as employees?
Apr 9, 2007 - 9:17:11 AM

New Delhi, April 9 - Aluminium maker NALCO has moved the Supreme Court, challenging an Orissa High Court order to absorb as its employees the staff of primary schools set up by it in collaboration with three trusts.

The case pertains to primary schools in Orissa's Anugul and Damajodi that were set up by the government-owned company in collaboration with the Central Chinmoy Mission Trust -, Mumbai; Saraswati Vidya Mandir -; and Sikhya Vikas Samiti -.

The teaching and non-teaching staff at these schools is demanding that they be labelled as employees of NALCO that will entitle them to the benefits of working for a government undertaking.

But NALCO counsel Ashok Kumar Gupta said in the petition that the staff of the schools was recruited by the trusts and not by the company.

He said if the order of the Orissa High Court was implemented it would have wider repercussions for all public sector organisations by forcing them to take over all the schools run with their financial aid.

He said even the Delhi Public Schools established by NALCO at Anugul and Damanjodi in collaboration with the DPS Society would have to be taken over by the company.

The teaching and non-teaching staff at all these schools is about 6,500 and would be a financial burden on the company, Gupta said in the petition.

About 107 teaching and non-teaching staff of SVM at Anugul and Damanjodi had filed petitions in the high court seeking directions to NALCO to absorb them as its employees since the schools were established by the company and also run with financial aid from a committee headed by its general manager.

While pronouncing its judgement on Dec 21, 2006, a division bench of Justice B.P. Das and Justice A.K. Samantarya of the high court said, 'It is crystal clear that the ownership and overall management of the schools are retained by NALCO while the CCMT, SVM and SVS, as the case may be, have taken up the responsibility of running the schools at different points of time because they have expertise and experience in the field of teaching.

'From the voluminous documents as referred to above, there can be no second opinion in regard to the fact that the schools were established by NALCO, funded by the NALCO authorities and it has deep and pervasive control over the schools.'

But NALCO said in its petition to the apex court, 'The high court of Orissa has mainly gone on sentiments by presuming a state of high and dry rather than any law under which the employees of SVM - need to be regularised as employees of NALCO.'

SVM is the first respondent in the case.

The company has a factory site in Anugul and a mining site in Damanjodi and had set up the schools to facilitate better education for the children of its employees.

In 1985, the company entered into two separate agreements for the setting up of Chinmaya Vidyalayas with the CCMT. It also signed agreements with SVM and SVS for the establishment of primary schools.

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