Educational institutions should have robust system for preservation of records, says Delhi HC

 Underlining the importance of efficiency and accountability in administrative functioning, Delhi High Court on Wednesday said educational institutions should have a robust system for preservation of records and called upon the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to adopt practices such as digitisation for the purpose.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma made the observation while setting aside costs of Rs 2 lakh imposed by a single-judge bench on the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) over negligence in preservation and non-production of an annual confidential report of its employee in a case.

The court said that although the imposition of the costs on an educational institution without substantial material was “unwarranted”, the need for better record-keeping through digitisation, among others, by KVS ought to be addressed.

“We acknowledge the important of instilling efficiency and accountability in the administrative functioning of institutions like KVS. Therefore, the court’s comments on the working of KVS were well-founded, as education institutions should indeed have robust systems for the preservation of records,” the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula, said.

“However, in our opinion, the imposition of cost in this case appears to be disproportionate to the circumstances at hand and we consider it appropriate to set aside the same, in the peculiar facts and circumstances. Instead, it would be more equitable to address the need for better record-keeping by directing KVS to adopt better practices such as digitization etc., to ensure the proper preservation of records so that such incidents do not occur in future,” the bench said.

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The case before the single judge arose from the dismissal of a teacher from a Kendriya Vidyalaya.

The single-judge bench had said that KVS was the ultimate managing organisation of the schools and there was an “issue of governance” as “important documents relating to employees” were not available.

The judge had also said that the employee was entitled to costs of Rs 2,00,000 (Rs 2 lakh) from KVS due to the negligence in preservation and non-production of the annual confidential report by it.

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