Calcutta, March 10: For Manju Mitra Sarkar justice was delayed but not denied with Calcutta High Court asking the state's primary education department to give the school teacher, within a fortnight, an appointment letter with effect from when she had joined service in 1977.
Sarkar's is the third case in recent times in which the court had to pass such an order. Earlier, the court had asked the government to appoint Pranab Kumar Sengupta of Basak Bagan Primary School in Patipukur and Sunanda Chakladar of Deshagourav Vidyamandir in Belgharia, who had served for about 30 years. Sengupta had joined service in 1974 and was paid Rs 21.75 per month until the high court intervened last year.
Sarkar had joined the Barrackpore Girls Primary School in North 24-Parganas on February 1, 1977, on a monthly stipend of Rs 30. The teacher's pleas that her service be regularised fell on deaf ears and now, 28 years later, she is paid Rs 750 per month out of the institution's contingency fund.
In 1994, Sarkar had urged the high court to direct the authorities to appoint her as a permanent teacher. In February 1995, Justice Satyabrata Sinha of the high court ordered the primary education department to appoint her as a permanent teacher.
But the authorities did not carry out the order and Sarkar moved a petition on this in court. The teacher also sought an order directing that she be given a permanent appointment. On August 28, 1996, Justice Bhagwati Prosad Banerjee passed a fresh order directing the district primary school board to absorb Sarkar in any of the three vacant posts in the school in two months.
This was also not heeded and Sarkar moved a contempt petition before Justice Banerjee, who asked the primary education department to carry out the order immediately. 'But the authorities concerned did not bother to obey the court's directive,' said Sarkar's lawyer.
On December 12, 2004, a second contempt petition was moved before Justice Sengupta, who then asked the chairman of the North 24-Parganas district primary school board and the director of primary school education to appear before him today.
'The first order of the court was passed in 1995. Since then, the government did not take any step. I want to see the order carried out immediately,' said the judge.