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Teachers kept on temporary posts for decades unreasonable: HC

The Delhi High Court has said that teachers made to serve in temporary posts for decades is absolutely “arbitrary” and “unreasonable” and said this practice violated their fundamental right.

“Keeping a person who was fully qualified in a temporary post for over 15 years is, apart from being arbitrary, also unreasonable as it obviously denies such person the benefits of a regular pay scale, the security of tenure, and all other attendant benefits,” said Justice S Muralidhar.

The high court was hearing the petition filed by Nalini Prabhakar for regularisation of her service in its English department of Delhi University’s School of Correspondence Courses and Continuing Education. The court also pulled up the institution for citing non-availability of vacancies as a reason.

Justice Muralidhar also took to task the college for contending that the selection process for lecturers was stalled by its managing committee, which had to take up Prabhakar’s case in April 2003, on account of restructuring of the set up of the School of Correspondence Courses.

“The counsel was unable to inform this court when exactly this process of restructuring, which began sometime in October 1996, would come to an end. It seems unreasonable that on the pretext of restructuring the college, all appointments to permanent posts that have been falling vacant over the years in its various departments would not be filled up indefinitely. This, by itself, renders arbitrary the omission of the college to keep its teachers on a temporary basis for a long number of years,” said the court.

While hearing the petition, court also discarded the argument that the Human Resource Development Ministry had, in 2009, imposed a ban on the university against filling up vacant posts of teaching and non-teaching staff without prior approval of the UGC, and also that the DU had advised colleges to recruit and appoint only candidates who had qualified the NET/SLET.

Prabhakar, in her petition, had submitted that she had been working continuously on the temporary post with the college since July 1996. By keeping her temporary for over 14 years, the respondents had violated her fundamental rights by denying her the benefit of regularisation, to which she was entitled by law, she claimed.She also brought on record documents showing that vacant posts were available with the college at subsequent times, but they did not regularise her services on one pretext or another.

Now, the court has directed the managing committee to consider her case in four weeks, and also regularise her services without any benefit of arrears of pay, but from the date on which the first vacancy for a permanent post in the Department of English occurred after her appointment. It also told them to calculate her seniority for pension and other purposes from this date. 

[Source: Indian Express]

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