November 22, 2018 04:52 PM

Chandigarh (Subhash Jindal)

Punjab and Haryana Highcourt  Bench comprising Justice Jaswant Singh today issued notices for January 17th, 2019 to Punjab Government and Secretary Education in a Writ Petition filed by Gurpreet Singh, Hindi Master (under RMSA) and 106 other teachers and Masters working under SSA/RMSA programmes in Punjab on Thursday.

The  petitioners approached the High Court against their apprehended victimization by Education department by attempting to replace teachers of SSA/RMSA (who have not given options for absorption/regularisation in Education department at reduced salary at the rate of Rs.15,300/- per month) by those teachers who have opted for such absorption/regularization.

The petitioners have referred to Government notification dated 9.10.2018, vide which SSA/RMSA teachers have been asked to give their option for absorption/regularization in Educaion department at reduced salaries, whereas under SSA/RMSA , they are getting monthly salary of around Rs.40 thousand per month. For that reason, around 8000 SSA/RMSA teachers ,out of total 8800 such teachers, have not opted for absorption. Now all such non-optee teachers are being victimized. Newly regularized teachers are being posted against their posts, and they are being relieved with a view to terrorize and force them to give option for regularization at reduced salaries. Counsel for petitioners referred to atleast three such relieving orders issued to SSA/RMSA teachers on posting of optee-teachers against their place.

The Counsel stated that any such SSA/RMSA teacher, if he gives option for absorption, even at the last moment before he or she is relieved, even when optee teacher has come for relieving him/her, would not be disturbed. Thus, a method of arm-twisting is being used to force and coerce the SSA/RMSA teachers to opt for absorption in Education department at reduced salaries.

The Counsel brought it to the notice of HC Bench comprising Justice Jaswant Singh that yesterday, a lady SSA teacher, with seven months pregnancy was suddenly relieved, on joining of an optee teacher in her place, when she became unconscious due to sudden shock, and was got admitted in Rajindra Hospital, Patiala for treatment. Thus, the Education department is resorting to coercive methods against the SSA/RMSA Teachers.

Yesterday, after hearing the Counsel for petitioners at some length, the HC Bench , without issuing any formal notice to respondents, had asked the Law Officer of Punjab Government to give its response to the issues raised by the petitioners.

The Writ Petition was therefore, again listed for hearing today. After going through the version of Punjab Government, which was handed over by the Law Officer to the HC Bench, the Bench issued notice of motion to respondents. The Bench however, did not stay operation of the offending clauses of the Notices/Circulars.

The Bench however, orally apprised the Counsel for petitioner that any SSA/RMSA teacher, who may be relieved on joining by some optee-teacher in his place, would be given station of posting of his choice, as and when he clicks the option for regularization in the Education department. The Counsel for petitioners however, maintained that this is also an arm-twisting strategy to compel or lure the SSA/RMSA teachers to opt for regularization.

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