Academic Arrangement: A Generation lost
At the very first instance, this article should not be considered as an explanation to the various newspaper articles published recently through different mediums, but through this Jammu & Kashmir College Contractual Teachers Association (JKCCTA) intends to address those who have applied under new academic arrangement [need-based only] guidelines, notoriously known as 58-JK(HE) of 2021 and who day in and day out dream about being engaged as per those guidelines.
Moreover, this article will try to redress all the misconceptions imbibed among the young brains who unfortunately from the very recent times have trained their guns against a class that is already oppressed for more than two decades now.
These new contestants seem to have been instrumentalized against those people who have been in this system from a time span when most probably the new contestants would have been students of their class. With reference to the guidelines, the stakeholders must know the history of the cause. They must know that J&K higher education department (JKHED) has made it a norm to often change the nomenclature and the mode of the job.
In continuity with that, you must know that, in guideline-58-JK(HE)-2021, they have tactically switched the nomenclature from Academic Arrangement to need-based academic arrangement or seasonal engagement. For your information, in the erstwhile nomenclature (prior to guideline-58) the engaged teachers were known as Academic Arrangement Lecturers and under the guideline, 78 of 2018, we were entitled to get vacation salary (winter as well as summer) and were engaged for a full academic year.
Wasn’t that fortunate enough? We from the very release of guideline 58 of 2021 informed the current stakeholders regarding these ill-intended guidelines, but they never stood against it. JKHED has utilized their every effort to engage you on the basis of UGC guidelines, but will they have any intention to pay you accordingly?
No! You were made aware of all the misfortunes that are coming your way, instead, you rushed after those who have been already out of the system since Dec-2020 and some since July-2019. At the same time these stakeholders have been tainted and socialized in a way that needs immediate therapy. If they are really interested in such job, they have a responsibility that they should know their history as well.
It was a respectable and a promising job till an ill-fated day in 2010, when the then State government passed an act called, The Jammu And Kashmir Civil Services [special provision] Act-2010, dated 29th of April, 2010. This unfortunate act under the title Application of the Act (Part B) Clause (b) of section 3 mentions that: Application of the Act: The provisions of this Act shall apply to such posts under the Government as are held by any person having been appointed on ad hoc or contractual basis including those appointed on consolidated pay provided that such appointments have been made against the clear vacancies, but shall not apply to:- Part B: “Persons appointed on tenure posts co-terminus with the life of the Project or Scheme of the State or Central Government, as the case may be, and those appointed on academic arrangement for a fixed term in any Government Department; It is because of this act, our nomenclature was changed from Ad hoc/Contractual to Academic Arrangement.”
With the introduction of this clause, only four departments were denied their due right (including higher education as well). Keeping this discriminatory approach into consideration, maximum Academic arrangement lecturers moved to Hon’ble J&K High court for seeking ‘Writ of Mandamus’. The Hon’ble High court decided and ordered JKHED to continue the services of petitioners till the court decides the final merit of the case.
In continuity with this, Hon’ble JK High court after looking into the nature of the case decided to called it a service case and ordered to move the instant petition to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
The final Hon’ble J&K High court interim order as decided on 07/10/2020 after considering it a service case reads as: “It is seen that the posts of Lecturers are borne on the Service of the Education (Gazetted) College Services Recruitment Rules, 2008, promulgated vide SRO 423 of 23.12.2008, perusal whereof reveals that these posts of Lecturers against which the petitioners herein claim their right to continuation/regularization, are duly sanctioned posts borne on a Civil Service of the Union Territory of the Jammu and Kashmir and meets all the requirements of being a civil post.”
That being the position, the claim of the petitioners, admittedly, relates to the recruitment and/or matters concerning recruitment to a civil service and/order a civil post under the Union.
Consequently, in terms of the mandate of Section 14 of the CAT Act, it is the Tribunal which has the jurisdiction as a Court of first instance to exercise all the jurisdiction, powers and authority vis-à-vis this petition, which were exercisable by this Court prior to the appointed day. The verdict of 07/10/2020 further reads: “In light of the above, the instant petition is transferred to the Central Administrative Tribunal, presently, functioning at Jammu, for decision in accordance with law.”
However, till such time the Tribunal finally decides this matter, the petitioners shall be allowed to continue discharging their duties at the present arrangement and they shall be paid the legitimately earned wages in accordance with the rules governing the field, without any fail. In accordance with the above decision, it is stressed upon the fact that the status-quo (as realized by many) never meant to freeze new appointments or continuation of the services, it is only an interim relief provided to us by the Hon’ble J&K High Court, whereas, our main intention is to fight against the discriminatory act of 2010.
It is also worth mentioning that although directions to continue our services were passed on to JKHED by the Hon’ble J&K high court, but unfortunately such directions were bypassed by JKHED and we were verbally disengaged from delivering our services, which is a grave concern.
It is also noteworthy that because of the disputed nature of guidelines (58-JK-HE of 2018), 06 applicants moved to CAT to file their grievances against the said guideline. The grievance of the applicants was that ‘JKHED is in violation of the recruitment rules and UGC guidelines and has issued criteria for engagement of Lecturers on academic arrangement basis for the year 2021-22 by not awarding any points/marks for the candidates having less than 55% at PG level and more than 50% at graduation level.’ In this matter CAT on 3rd of May, 2021 issued a stay order to halt the recruitment of new academic arrangement lecturers.
Remember, JKCCTA never intended to do that and will not do that in future also. Developing a wrong notion that the Status-Quo Academic Arrangement teachers believe in mediocrity and are hence less meritorious also needs due attention.
Stakeholders must know that, you are not the only ones who fulfil all the necessary academic qualifications fit for the job. Maximum Status-quo teachers have already doctorates degree (even some are Post-Doctorates) with them and have also qualified various competitive exams at the National and UT level like, NET/JKSET/JRF, at the same time they have research publications in reputed Journals and foreign visits during their research tenure. You should also know that a large number of status-quo teachers have already crossed the upper-age limit and others are close to that. We suggest you to stop beating around the bush and not to make your case a unique one.
Ineligibility concern should have been of those who are at the helm of affairs, but fortunately, they always acclaimed our position. We have from time to time proved our worth which is at par with permanent faculty working in different colleges of J&K, which is acknowledged by everyone. Whatever, Jammu & Kashmir College Contractual Teachers Association (JKCCTA) firmly upholds that skepticism needs to be encouraged but not merely on trivial reasons. JKCCTA at the same time is fully aware of all the developments made by you in the recent days.
We encourage the way you are dealing with your problems by setting a wrong target. You should know that beating a dead horse will only lead you to the no man’s land. Instead we all should realize that we all have one thing in common, that is, we both are at the receiving end and our intensity of problems are same, those need an immediate redressal. JKCCTA invites you to work unitedly for a common cause and to locate those areas on which further work needs to be done. It is better to discuss than to blame.
Jammu and Kashmir College Contractual Teachers Association.