In a victory for teachers of government-aided schools, the state government on Wednesday revoked its order mandating teachers to move their salary accounts from a central bank to the Mumbai District Cooperative Bank (MDCB).
In a government resolution, the state education department said the teachers could continue to keep their salary and provident fund accounts in Union Bank and that they were free to open salary accounts in any bank. The resolution also said that the pool account or the education superintendent’s account into which the government transfers aid, must be in the Union Bank.
In June last year, the department had issued a government resolution asking teachers to switch to MDCB — a move that did not go down well with teachers who had accounts with Union Bank as per an earlier government order.
Around 27,000 teachers had opposed this move and refused to move their accounts. The government had responded by stopping disbursement of salaries to those who did not have an account in MDCB.
The teachers raised concerns over the credibility of the bank, citing allegations of fraud. They also targeted education minister Vinod Tawde for “favouring” the bank because of the chairman’s political connections. Pravin Darekar, a BJP legislator, is the chairperson of MDCB. The teachers filed a writ petition in Bombay High Court, which ruled in their favour.
The verdict was upheld last week in the Supreme Court forcing the education department to revoke the June 3 order.
Teachers said it was a major victory for them. “Finally, the teachers have won. The state could not force us to move to a bank without our consent,” said Uday Nare, a teacher from Hansraj Morarji School in Andheri.
Kapil Patil, state president of Janata Dal (United) who has been fighting alongside the teachers, said: “The High Court and the Supreme Court have stood by us and justice has prevailed.” While Tawde did not comment, Darekar said, “Teachers are now free to open their salary accounts in any bank so those who have opened accounts with MDCB need not move anymore. We will continue to provide all the benefits to the teachers as usual.”