DIMAPUR, MAY 25 (MExN): The Central Executive Council of the Nagaland University Teachers Association (NUTA) today condemned the show-cause notices issued to 13 NU teachers after being found absent for training with regard to election duty.
The show cause notices were served by the Deputy Commissioner and District Electoral Officer, Kohima on May 24, and sought reply from the teachers within a day.
Terming the notices as “illegal,” the association during a meeting at SASRD, Medziphema today questioned the authority of the DC with regard to threatening disciplinary action on central university teachers.
The NUTA reiterated the central university teachers are exempted from election duties to protect the political rights of the teachers. The association further condemned the “misinterpretation” of section 159 of RP act 1951 by the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Nagaland “for the fact that university teachers are not staff.”
The only personnel working on the administration side in universities as staffs are clerks, office assistants, account officers, assistant registrars, deputy registrars and joint registrars whose services can be requisitioned, the NUTA explained.
It added that the University Grants Commission Act and Regulations clearly identifies teachers differently. “The Deputy CEO is totally wrong if not illegal in treating teachers as staff,” it stated, while demanding unconditional revocation of the show-cause notices.
It meanwhile demanded exemption of election duty for the 17 teachers from Kohima campus, 13 from Medziphema campus and 15 teachers from Lumami HQ. It resolved that if the demands are not met, the association would demand that the ECI conduct a re-poll in all the polling stations where university teachers are being deputed as presiding officers; re-poll in all constituencies where university teachers are being deputed as micro observers; and recounting in all polling stations where university teachers are being deputed as counting officers.
A press note from the CEC NUTA President, Dr Rosemary Dzuvivhu and Secretary General Prof. D Kuolie said these demands are based on the association’s earlier representation wherein it was categorically stated that central university teachers are allowed to be politically active and partisan.
The Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) has also demanded the “immediate unconditional withdrawal of these notices.”
“It is a well-known practice that teachers of Central Universities are exempted from election duties. This is done to protect the political rights of Central University teachers as they enjoy the privilege to be active members of political parties during service as seen in cases of several Central Ministers, Ministers of State and Chief Ministers in the past,” the association pointed out. Teachers are allowed to take five years leave, stand for election and then rejoin service, it added.
The NUTA had already submitted written representations to the Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer to this effect.
The FEDCUTA therefore termed it “grossly unjust to have subjected the teachers of Nagaland University to such harassment.” The association said it was beyond the purview of the Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer to issue such show-cause notices to the teachers of Central Universities.
It demanded that the Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer immediately withdraw the show-cause notices and “stop harassing the teachers.” The association informed that it has also written to the Visitor, the President of India, the Vice-Chancellor of Nagaland University, the Chief Minister of Nagaland, and the Chief Election Commissioner on the matter seeking their intervention.