The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teacher arrears earn frown
- High court raps govt for order flout, laments state of education

The judiciary came down heavily on the executive on Tuesday for failing to obey an earlier directive regarding a wronged schoolteacher.

Calcutta High Court hauled up the state government for not ensuring that Purabi Mukherjee returned to Belghoria Jatin Das Vidyamandir for Girls and was paid her dues for the period when she was not being allowed to teach.

Justice Barin Ghosh, besides commenting on the sorry state of affairs in the education sector, asked the government to compensate Mukherjee by paying her salary dues. The court directed the district inspector of schools, North 24-Parganas, to disburse her dues within three weeks of his receiving the order.

Expressing surprise over the repeated disregard shown to court orders by the state government, the judge said it was unfortunate that even judicial intervention could not help litigants get their dues.

Mukherjee, who was headmistress of Belghoria Jatin Das Vidyamandir for Girls, had taken recourse to the legal route after exhausting all other options, as reported in Metro last year. Four years ago, she was accused of corruption by a section of her colleagues and ousted. After a probe, she was cleared of all the charges.

But her colleagues, reportedly backed by local CPM leaders, continued to prevent her from entering the school premises. “I was refused entry a number of times, leaving me with no other alternative but to move court,” Mukherjee recalled on Tuesday, after emerging triumphant from the courtroom, courtesy Justice Ghosh’s order.

The court adjourned the matter and decided to hear the proceedings three weeks after it reopens on January 4, 2004. A copy of the order would be served on Wednesday when the court convenes again, said Mukherjee’s lawyer, Dhirendra Nath Batabyal.

The order is scathing in its criticism of the government’s role in the education sector. Admitting that Mukherjee’s was not the first such case to have come to him, Justice Ghosh lamented the fact that anything seemed possible in the state’s schools and colleges.

The court declined to hear the submission of the counsel appointed by the state education board and criticised the harassment of a woman, causing her mental agony.

A prominent local CPI leader said on Tuesday: “We started supporting Mukherjee because of her reputation as an honest administrator and capable teacher… The court order vindicates our stand.”

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