The Delhi government on Friday directed 12 Delhi University colleges fully funded by it to pay outstanding salaries to staffers from the Students Society Fund, a move criticised by DU’s teachers’ body and officials of the university.

The government has ordered a special audit of six colleges — Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Maharishi Valmiki BEd College, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Bhagini Nivedita College and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies.

The AAP government and 12 colleges fully funded by it have been locked in a tussle over the release of grants, with the latter saying that they have been unable to pay salaries to staffers for nearly three months owing to the non-release of funds.

“Having taken notice that salaries of Teaching & Non-Teaching staff of colleges, affiliated to Delhi University and fully funded by the GNCT of Delhi, are outstanding/not being paid due to ongoing Special Audit/non-release of Grant-in-Aid, the Hon”ble Dy CM has ordered/permitted : Outstanding salaries to the Teaching & Non-Teaching staff be released immediately from the Students Society Fund(SSF) as has been done in the past, till the process of Special Audit is completed/further installments of GIA (under the Salary Head) are released,” the order said.

For the purpose, requisite permission for utilising the Students Society Fund(SSF) for payment of salaries to the teaching and non-teaching staff is hereby accorded, the order said.

“If any salaries remain unpaid after the Student Society Fund has been exhausted, the remaining amount will be paid by the Directorate of Higher Education after receipt of formal request from the concerned college(s),” it added.

It also said that strict compliance of the orders must be ensured within two weeks, so that salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff are disbursed even while the process of special audit is going on.

Professor Balaram Pani, Dean of Colleges, DU said the Students Society Fund is reserved for student activities and under no circumstances, they can be diverted to pay salaries to staffers.

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) said using the Students Society Fund (SSF) for paying outstanding salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff is “unacceptable”.

“This fund is collected from students for organising extra curricular activities and is, thus, plugged back into the system by colleges for students. By ordering usage of SSF for paying salaries, Delhi Government is pushing the burden of salaries on parents and students. This is unacceptable, even as an interim measure. Even in the past, if colleges were forced to use SSF for such purpose, the money was borrowed from this account and has always been returned to the head as soon as grants-in-aid were released,” it said.

The SSF cannot be siphoned for salary purposes on permanent basis, it said.

“This is neither justifiable nor sustainable. Audits are routine matter for any institution and salaries have never been stopped on this pretext earlier. Why it should be any different this time?” DUTA asked.

“It angers us to say that employees of six DU colleges maintained by the Delhi government are without salaries for the past six months,” it said.

The Delhi government, in a statement, said the lawyer representing DDU College himself stated in court that it has paid salaries from the Student Society Fund in the past.

“When the judge asked him whether they are allowed to pay from the Student Society Fund, he said yes they are. All they need is an official permission from the Directorate of Higher Education for the same. They should also be asked to present any documents that state that this is illegal. Because they have presented no such documents to the auditors or the court,” the statement said.

“The reason they claim this illegality is because this fund is discretionary with the principals and there is corruption done in how this money is spent,” it added.

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