Thursday, February 2, 2023

Reconsider regularization of contractual assistant profs: NNQF

Nagaland NET Qualified Forum (NNQF) has called for reconsideration of the regularisation process of contractual assistant professors.
In a representation to Higher Education minister Temjen Imna Along, the forum said -+-+a local channel had on September 21, aired a clip of 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) discussion and reported that 154 contractual assistant professor posts were in the process of being regularised, which it claimed had caused disappointment and dismay among many eligible candidates in Nagaland.
The forum said these aspirants comprised both candidates whose opportunities were lost over years of non-advertisement as well as those who were waiting for a chance again. In both cases, the right to equal opportunity and free and fair competition was deprived and violated.
NNQF contended that the decision to regularise the contractual assistant professors only depicted that the system rewarded those with the ability to get into the higher education system without going through proper channel/institution, i.e., Nagaland Public Service Commission’s (NPSC) Common Educational Service Examination (CESE) or through public advertisement, while at the same time were able to retain themselves in that particular job over the years.
Though the office memorandum of June 6, 2016 had banned appointments on contractual basis, the representation alleged that contractual appointments continued to take place. It recalled that the August 3, 2018 order of Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench in the case filed by ACAUT and PSAN against the backdoor appointments had stated “any appointment without advertisement and the regularization of (such posts) is not only unconstitutional but null and void.”
Similarly, the forum pointed out that the Supreme Court judgement in the Uma Devi case of 2006 clarified that regularisation could not be a mode of appointment. It also mentioned that when a temporary/ad-hoc/contractual post continued for long, it presumed the need and warrant for a regular post through procedures of direct recruitment.
In backdrop of all these orders, NNQF said regularisation of the contractual posts would only be a reflection of disrespect to the existing law and a further violation of the rights of aspirants and equality.
The forum also clarified that its petition (The Nagaland NET Qualified Forum Vs the State of Nagaland-Case no.: WP(C) 12/2019) against the backdoor/irregular/contractual appointments in various departments of higher education was not won or lost.
It pointed out that the judgement clearly stated that the writ petition was dismissed not on merit but on the basis of technicalities. The court dismissed the case on the grounds of maintainability where the forum was given the liberty to refile through appropriate writ petition accordingly. Thus, for respondents (illegal/contractual/irregular appointees) to claim that they had won the case was misleading and a misrepresentation of the judgement, it added.
Given the fact the writ petition was filed by NNQF, it would be for it to win or lose, and not the respondents, the representation stated.
NNQF said if the respondents had won, it would be questionable on the part of the court to give it the liberty to refile the case.
“Thus, this representation is an appeal that no appointments and regularisation should take place on the pretext of the dismissal of the previous petition against backdoor/irregular appointments (NNQF vs the State of Nagaland judgement and order dated 6th June, 2022),” the representation added.
The forum appealed to the minister to reconsider and withdraw the process of regularisation of the contractual assistant professors, while declaring its support to the idea of age condonation/relaxation for contractual employees (who by now had gained much more experience and knowledge in teaching as well as the subject matter) so that they could also take part in the right to equal opportunity and free and fair competition through direct recruitment – NPSC, CESE – along with all other aspirants who had been and were still waiting.

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