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No Pension, No Answers: Nearly 1,000 Ex-DU Employees Left in Lurch

“I spent four decades working for Delhi University. Pension is my right,” says a retired professor.

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam

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“It is thus a hard-earned benefit which accrues to an employee and is in the nature of property. This right to property cannot be taken away,” said the Supreme Court of India in a case dealing with pensions.

But despite several Supreme Court orders making it clear that pension is a retired government employee’s right, close to 1,000 Delhi University staffers have not been getting their pensions since retirement.

The reason?

In 2014, the University Grants Commission (UGC) stopped giving pension to all those Delhi University employees who applied to shift from lump sum retirement scheme to pension scheme after 1987.

In 1987, under the 4th Pay Commission announced by the government, the option of receiving a pension was given to the university’s teaching and non-teaching staff. Certain teachers opted for pension, while for those who did not (then), the university gave them an opportunity later on – between 1989-98 – to opt for the pension scheme. So, during the extended period, a large number of teachers opted for the pension scheme.
Dr Rajesh Mohan, retired associate professor of physics

According to the UGC, the Delhi University didn’t take permission from it to allow their employees to shift to the pension scheme post 1987.

Appeal Goes Unheard in Court

We have gone to court. It is not for the grant of pension but for the release of the pension. That has already taken one year.
Manju Narag, retired associate professor of philosophy

Professor Narag, along with other professors, had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in 2017 for the release of their pension. A year has passed, but the matter has not been heard even once.

She had written several complaints to Delhi University and the UGC on the release of pension, but all efforts went in vain.

I wrote to my college principal that I am not getting pension, even after I have worked in this college for more than four decades. So, the principal wrote back to me and said, ‘Your file is ready with us but we are waiting for the university’s approval.’ It is so frustrating because there is nobody to talk to. 
Manju Narag, retired associate professor of philosophy
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Non-Teaching Staff Condition Even Worse

Over 30 percent of the nearly 1,000 affected ex-employees are non-teaching staffers. And their condition is much more deplorable than others.

Those who were single earners (in a family), whether teaching or non-teaching, are in a difficult situation, especially the non-teaching staff because their salary was very low. They are hardly able to make ends meet.
Dr Rajesh Mohan

Ashok Sharma, a non-teaching staffer, worked in different departments of DU as an admin officer. He retired in mid-2016 and hasn’t received any pension since.

Nobody in the university is ready to inform us about our pension. Nobody has an answer to our sole question, ‘Where is our pension.’ My daughter is married, only my wife and I live at home. My wife is a homemaker. Somehow, we are managing our daily needs since retirement. Very soon, we would have to borrow money from people if I don’t get my pension.
Ashok Sharma, retired admin officer, DU

Sharma spoke about a pension-deprived family who was not just struggling for daily needs but was also battling cancer.

Dewan Singh was a friend and a colleague who died after his retirement. His wife is suffering from cancer. Their only son is breaking his back to get his mother treated. 
Ashok Sharma

According to Professor Narag, the university has “let them down” despite the fact that they worked so hard for the institute. Common people are not ready to believe that the Delhi University could do this to their people, she added.

(This article will be updated with the UGC’s response as and when it is received)

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