Even as protest by teachers under the banner of All Nagaland Ad hoc Teachers Group-2015 (ANTAG-15) batch entered the sixth day Saturday, there appeared to be still no sign of the impasse getting resolved any time soon.
It may be recalled that after ANATG-2015 office bearers and ANSTA held a joint meeting with chief sectary, commissioner and secretary school education department, it concluded with an agreement for forming a High Power Committee to look into ANATG for regularisation of service.
However, the general body of ANATG rejected the constitution of High Power Committee Friday that led to some core committee members even tendering their resignation on moral grounds.
However, the differences were resolved Saturday afternoon at a meeting held at Naga Solidarity Park, where the teachers on indefinite fast were camping. At the meeting Saturday, ANATG representatives from all district units called for reinstating the core committee members and decide on the next course of action for the group.
All the members unanimously decided to remain at the protest site and also submit a representation to the chief minister to be signed by all the 1166 members.
As the indefinite hunger strike entered the sixth day, some of the participants– three females and one male- were taken to hospital for medical support after their health deteriorated due to malnutrition.
Meanwhile, ANATG members informed that they will be holding a devotional service on Sunday after which, the representation to chief minister will be submitted.
DoSE and ANATG stand on impasse
The Department of School Education (DoSE) made its stand clear regarding the constraints placed by court order with regard to regularisation of services of ad hoc teachers.
Asked what was the constraint, an official from the department informed Nagaland Post that irrespective of the mode of appointment under it, the department had conducted a suitability test. However, even before the results could be declared, the court order was issued over which the department could not override or face contempt.
The official said the claim of ANATG that ad hoc employees of other departments were being regularised, could only be explained by the Personnel & Administrative Reforms (P&AR) department that cleared the files. The official claimed that the court had, in its order on August 3, 2018, passed in WP (C) No. 145 (K) 17, directed the State Government not to regularise “any person” on the basis of mere completion of three years of continuous service on contract/adhoc basis. The official said the department’s hands were tied mainly because of this order.
As per the court order, the subsequent judgment was upheld by the same court on February 7, 2019 passed in WA No. 16 (K) 2018. In view of the judicial pronouncements, the regularisation of service was not feasible at this juncture, the official clarified.
Meanwhile, speaking to this correspondent, one of the agitating teachers said the suitability test was conducted and files of the selected 1,166 teachers were put up for cabinet approval. However, the filed was delayed and before the result was declared, ACAUT filed a petition in the court and that hampered everything, he added.
The teacher mentioned that ANATG had asked DoSE to clarify as to why the ad hoc employees of other departments were regularised and not theirs?. The teachers’ body also questioned the department as to why appointments were still continuing when there was a court order that banned ANATG members from getting their services regularised.
On whether ANATG has not reacted to other department go against the court order by regularising the services of employees, the member said ANATG had substantiated in its demand on regularisation order that it has no the intention of forcing department to follow suit and do something illegal.
He however remarked that the recruitment policy of school education was different from others and ANATG was not under the purview of Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) and Nagaland Staff Selection Board (NSSB) and therefore the department should give what was due to them.
Asked why ANATG did not take the matter to court, he said the matter was subjudice, but the recruitment was done under the department policy and therefore there was no reason for the group to go to court.
Referring to the definition of a lawyer in 2018 at a coordination meeting between DoSE officials and ANATG office-bearers in the presence of lawyers, who said that their (ANATG) appointment was temporary and backdoor, the teacher said that this should be clarified by the department as the teachers only joined service as per the department’s policy.