Teacher's lone and long fight for justice

Fifty-year-old Swarnalata Dei epitomises the old "justice delayed is justice denied" adage.

  • Published 13.02.17
Swarnalata Dei

Cuttack, Feb. 12: Fifty-year-old Swarnalata Dei epitomises the old "justice delayed is justice denied" adage.

Six years ago, when Orissa High Court ruled in favour of the assistant teacher at Odisha Police High School here, she thought justice had been delivered at the end of a 15-year long battle.

Today, however, Dei waits to enjoy the spoils of that half-won battle.

The high court's July 20, 2010, order, issued in her favour, has not been complied with as she continues filing contempt petitions.

She has filed four contempt petitions since then to get the respective parties to comply with the order.

Dei began her battle for approval of her service period from January 2, 1992, when she was appointed as a trained graduate teacher of Padmolav Balika Uchha Vidyalaya at Niali Block in Cuttack district. She first moved the high court in 1995 when the inspector of schools approved the services of all staff members, except hers.

She moved the high court again in April 2010 when the school and mass education department rejected her claim for approval of service.

Acting on her petitions, the high court had ordered for antedating her date of appointment to January 2, 1992, and granting all consequential benefits to her within three months.

She returned to the high court when the order was not implemented.

Acting on her contempt petition, the court imposed a penalty of Rs 1,000 each on school and mass education secretary Aparajita Sarangi and two other officials for non-compliance of the order in May 2011.

The court, however, recalled the penalty order after four days when the school and mass education department informed it that they had complied with the court order in the meantime by issuing a cheque of Rs 3,91,670 to Dei.

But Dei has continued the battle. She filed a fourth contempt petition last August and alleged that while the government had antedated her services in pursuance of the court order, it had not granted all other consequential benefits from that date.

Her petition had come up last November. Swarnalata filed an affidavit on February 10 where she alleged that despite 18 junior teachers already being promoted to the rank of headmaster, she is still languishing as an assistant teacher.

She has been teaching science at the police high school since 2005.