Government order upheld
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday upheld the government order making applicable the provisions of the Employees State Insurance (ESI) Act to the schools affiliated to CBSE and ICSE.
The Bench comprising Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair and C.T. Ravindran upheld the order while dismissing a batch of writ petitions filed by the Kerala CBSE School Managements Association and others. The petitioners contended that since their schools were controlled by the Central government, the State government had no power to extend the provisions of the Act to their schools.
They said the government had excluded the public and aided schools from the purview of the Act. Therefore, bringing their schools alone under the ambit of ESI Act was discriminatory. They submitted that the provisions could be made applicable only to the industrial, commercial and agricultural establishments. The government took the stand that it had the power to bring any institutions under the Act.
The government also submitted that the public and aided schools were excluded from the purview as their employees enjoyed the benefits under the government service rules.
Dismissing the petitions, the court said the charge of discrimination was unsustainable. It was within the discretion of the government to decide which institutions and establishment should be brought under the purview of the Act.
Rejecting the contention of the petitioners, the court said the schools were not established by the Central government. They were established by various trusts, either private or public. The claim of the petitioners that the schools were under the control of the Central government was untenable.