The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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State takes tough line on litigant tutors

Calcutta, July 23: The school education department, overburdened with thousands of suits filed by teachers and non-teaching employees, has taken the stand that it will not be soft towards those moving court even if the plaintiffs win the cases.

The underlying message for those working in the 65,000-odd primary and secondary schools across Bengal is that they will be in trouble if they move court.

The government stand is likely to create a fear psychosis among aggrieved teaching and non-teaching employees so that they do not take the government to court.

'We are bogged down by the increasing number of court cases. The government is fed up with telling teachers, employees and even managing committees of schools not to indulge in legal complications as we always keep our doors open for settling any dispute across the table,' Kanti Biswas, the state school education minister, said today.

The government, Biswas said, is spending a lot of money on cases and officials have to spend most of their time handling court matters. 'It is becoming impossible for us to concentrate on academic and administrative matters.'

There are glaring examples of the government's non-co-operation with employees of state-aided schools who had turned to the courts.

The managing committee of Golabari High School in North Dinajpur had suspended headmaster Sukomal Choudhury three years ago on charges of misappropriation of funds.

The headmaster moved Calcutta High Court, which ruled in his favour in May.

A day after Choudhury rejoined, he was suspended on the same charges and dismissed within a week.

Choudhury again moved the high court and got an injunction last week. He rejoined the school on Thursday.

A delegation of the West Bengal Headmasters' Association met senior officials of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and requested them to allow Choudhury to continue in his job.

However, according to association president Ashoke Maity, the officials told the panel: 'Tell your colleagues never to take legal action against the government. Or else they will meet the same fate.'

This, said Maity, is not the only such case.

Tarak Sinha, the founder headmaster of Malda's Bhatole High School, was suspended following a row over expenditure incurred by a non-government organisation for expansion of the school building.

The high court ruled in Sinha's favour and asked the managing committee to allow him to resume work. But the headmaster is not being allowed to rejoin.

The headmaster has filed a contempt case against the committee.

In Calcutta, a group-D employee of J.S. Mission School on Christopher Road is facing non-co-operation from the board and the institution's managing committee for having approached the court to get his grievances addressed.

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