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Teachers win promotion case

- Pay dues for 28 months in six weeks: high court

The high court on Wednesday directed the state government to pay 28 months’ dues in enhanced salary and promotional benefit to teachers of colleges and universities across the state. The order will have to be implemented in six weeks.

Justice Ashoke Kumar Dasadhikari, who issued the ruling, quashed a state notification of December 1, 2012, announcing that promotion of teachers under the University Grant Commission’s career advancement scheme would be given effect in the state from November 1, 2012.

The court ordered that the scheme be given effect from June 30, 2010, which teachers had been demanding.

The ruling will benefit around 3,000 college teachers of the state.

“The state notification dated December 1, 2012, failed to mention about the teachers’ payment and promotional benefit for the period between June 30, 2010, and October 31, 2012. So the notification is being quashed,” Justice Dasadhikari ruled.

The notification announcing that the career advancement scheme would come into effect from November 1, 2012, had come as a blow to the teachers whose promotion had been pending for varying durations since 2008.

The erstwhile Left Front government had refused to clear promotion under the scheme in 2008 and 2009, apparently because of a financial crisis.

The UGC had in 2010 revised the rules for promotion but the government failed to issue an order to give effect to the revised scheme. After coming to power, Trinamul, too, kept dragging its feet on the issue because of funds crunch.

It finally announced implementation of the scheme on December 1, 2012, but with only a month’s retrospective effect, depriving close to 3,000 teachers.

Krishnapada Das, a teacher at Srish Chandra College in Calcutta, and 73 others moved the high court, challenging the legality of the notification.

The petitioners prayed for an order that the scheme be given effect from June 30, 2010, and the teachers be paid dues of 28 months from July 2010 to October 2012.

Appearing for the petitioners, advocate L.C. Behani submitted: “The UGC and the human resource development ministry had jointly issued a circular on December 31, 2008, announcing promotion and career advancement scheme for teachers of colleges and universities.

“It was decided that the UGC and the ministry would bear the liability till March 31, 2010. The respective state governments would have to take the responsibility after that.”

The lawyer said the erstwhile Left government had informed the UGC on August 28, 2009, and June 10, 2010, that it would continue with the scheme. “But on December 31, 2012, the government issued a notification saying the career advancement scheme would be given effect from November 1, 2012.”

Behani submitted that the decision not to include the scheme between June 10, 2010, and October 31, 2012, was illegal. Appearing for the state, advocate Sadanada Ganguly opposed submitted: “The state government is within its right to decide on the matter.”