IAS is not Infuser of Anarchy into Service; Chancellor of UCC should review Asok Tripathy’s activities as its VC-in-charge

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is wrong to read IAS as Infuser of Anarchy into Service. But Mr. Asok Kumar Tripathy IAS has made many read it thus, specifically in the context of what he has done in the Utkal University of Culture (UCC).

He is the Secretary of culture department of the Government of Orissa. And culture department is the administrative department of UCC.

As the Secretary of the administrative department, he knew that the Vice-Chancellor of the University was to retire on February 16, 2013. But he did not take necessary steps to ensure that a new VC was selected and appointed to take over the charges from the outgoing VC. This was probably because, he had a secret agenda to execute after the VC retires. The University Registrar, who could have stressed upon the necessity of selection and appointment of a new VC, was given the impression that the 9th VC was under active consideration for extension and in the process the Culture Minister was also used. But the file generated to emit this impression was to get gone through the stymie in the form of another IAS officer in the system of the Governor-cum-Chancellor, which it failed to pass. resultantly, the 9th VC had to relinquish office to create the vacancy for Tripathy to step in.

Blatant disregard to ethics and prudence

In this method, after the 9th VC retired, Tripathy grabbed the position of VC the next day, i.e. on February 17, 2013, though administratively it was entirely improper and imprudent.

It needs be said that the Secretary, under the Rules of Business, being the chief executive of the department assigned to him, should never want or accept any post in an institute under the administrative control of his department, because thereby any illegality or impropriety committed by him in the said institute shall have no possibility of higher executive intervention in the department howsoever calling be that in the concerned moment and the wrongs perpetrated shall continue to get the support of the State.

As the Secretary of the department and so its executive head, Tripathy should not, therefore, have wanted or allowed himself to accept the assignment as VC of the University.

But in blatant disregard to ethics and prudence, he occupied the VC chair. And went ahead to execute a design that has ruined the academic environment of the University.

What has he done?

Colorable exercise of administrative power

He has dismissed from service all the “qualified” teachers, who were serving the University since six years in all of the 15 post-graduate departments of UCC and besides teaching, were doing all the extra-classroom duties, such as preparing the courses of study, setting question papers, conducting examinations, evaluating answer papers, manning the examination squads and finalizing the results. Because of them the University has earned credibility by launching six batches of Masters in Music. Tripathy has dismissed them all under colorable exercise of administrative power.

According to University Notification No. 1533 of July 26, 2007, all these post-graduate teachers were selected for the vacancies then existing in the University through a competent “Selection Committee” appointed for the purpose, as they were found “qualified” to fill up the vacant faculty positions.

But instead of appointing them as regular teachers they were declared “Guest Lecturers for teaching and accompaniment in different branches of M.Music” with remunerations fixed per class. They all were assured on every relevant occasions that once the financial instability inherently affecting the University was over, their services shall be regularized and they continued to hold the posts created in 2007. The 9th VC had stressed upon their regularization; because they were “qualified” persons “selected” on the basis of “interview” conducted by a duly appointed and legally competent “Selection Committee” of the University in 2007, and had taken positive steps in this regard.

Tripathy has destroyed this position by “disengaging” all of them through mischief of a built up plea.

BoM a tamed team

The University has no senate, no syndicate. It is a government institute controlled by the Secretary of the Culture department. To give it an attire of autonomy, the Secretary has a tamed team branded as the Board of Management (BoM) that comprises Sarat Pujari of Sangit Natak Academy, Satakadi Hota of Orissa Sahitya Academy, Siba Panigrahi of Lalit Kala Academy, Tamasarani Das Mohapatra of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Baladev Prasad Maharatha of B.K. College of Fine Arts, Prasant Das of Khallikot Govt. College of Arts, Ramahari Das of Odissi Research Centre who are indebted to the Secretary for their respective postings. None of these fellows has the courage to say no to what the departmental Secretary wants. In fact, some of them, who, in personal level are my friends, have confided in me that they had to sign on dotted lines the resolution dated 08,04,2013 where it was written that the “guest” lecturers would be disengaged from 10.5.2013. And citing this resolution Tripathy promulgated the “disengagement” order on 15.5.2013.

Office order cannot nullify Notification

It is to be noted that the lectures had entered into the University system by a “Notification” bearing No.1533, which was issued on 26.7.2007 with the unambiguous declaration that all of them were “qualified” for the posts they were to fill up, notwithstanding the designation offered to them.

But all of them have been “disengaged” by an “Office Order” issued on 15.5.2013.

The lecturers, notwithstanding their designation, having entered into the University system by a “Notification” cannot be dismissed by an “Office Order”; because “Office Order” is not the same as “Notification”.

Disengagement is not legal

On the other hand, the so-called “Office Order” which has “disengaged them with effect from 15.05.2013 for the first time after their entry into the University’s faculty system, makes it absolutely clear that till “disengaged”, all of them were “engaged” in their respective jobs which they had joined under the “Notification” of 26.7.2013, notwithstanding the wrongful designation and remuneration they were subjected to.

By virtue of their engagement for six years, as admitted in the above-noted “Office Order”, they had acquired a job status that cannot be dismantled so arbitrarily by a scheming Secretary behind them and in total denial of natural justice to them, and for no fault of theirs, specifically when the same Secretary had the knowledge that after only a few days he would be shunted out of the University when the new VC was to take over.

Keeping these “qualified” lecturers recruited by the “Selection Committee” lawfully constituted by the University for selection of “qualified” persons on the basis of interview against existing vacancies “engaged in their jobs” for six years under a mischievous nomenclature like “guest Lecturers” was blatantly illegal and can be cited as a classic instance of unfair labor practice resorted to by a government institute of higher education in culture like the UCC.

Nasty administration

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should feel ashamed of what a nasty and exploitive administration he has given to the State where brilliant and “qualified” experts in performing arts have been kept underfed and insecure like bonded labors in the University of Culture by his Mandarines like Tripathy for all these six years to be thrown into the dustbin in furtherance of a design.

The new Governor of the State, who, by virtue of being the Governor, is the University’s Chancellor, should also feel ashamed of his predecessor’s total failure in the realm of UCC where all the teachers, who were found “qualified” by the “selection Committee” and who, on joining the University system, have kept the University alive by producing six batches of Masters in Music, were denied job-security ever since their entry into the University system and had been kept underfed like bonded labors for six years. He should genuinely disapprove that after he has taken over, the same teachers have been “disengaged” for no fault of theirs, but because the Secretary of the controlling department had a secret design to execute.

Culture is so Uncultured!

The “disengagement” of the founding teachers in performing art disciplines like Vocal music, Dance, Instrumental music, and Drama, besides being entirely illegal, is a dastardly uncultured crime against human rights that an institute like the University of Culture was never expected to commit. This is sheer anarchy.

This anarchy has been infused into the system of the University by Tripathy.

The plea that the founding teachers of the University were mere “guest lecturers” whom the board of management resolved to disengage is blatantly fallacious.

The legal aspect has been discussed supra.

Now let us go to the concerned resolution.

Illogical resolution

While proposing to disengage the Guest Lecturers from 10.05.13, it simultaneously says, “There will ….. be …… only Guest Lecturers. All the posts of required number of Guest Lecturers will be advertised for recruitment before the summer vacation of 2013 after getting approval of the administrative department”.

Six years ago, in 2007, there was “advertisement” for “Guest Lectures” and “recruitment” of “qualified” persons for the said posts, was made by a “Selection Committee”, “after getting approval of the administrative department”.

So why have they been “disengaged” after rendering six years of brilliant and bright service; and when none of them was found deficient?

Why the resolution has been adopted to “disengage” “guest lecturers” to recruit “guest lecturers”? Is it a sane resolution?

How do you explain this, members of the BoM?

Mr. Sarat Pujari, how do you explain this?

Mr. Satakadi Hota, how do you explain this?

Mr. Siba Panigrahi, how do you explain this?

Ms. Tamasarani Das Mohapatra, how do you explain this?

Mr. Baladev Prasad Maharatha, how do you explain this?

Mr. Prasant Das, how do you explain this?

Mr. Ramahari Das, how do you explain this?

Each one of you is considered a polar star on the sky of our culture. But instead of nurturing our cultural climate by standing with the teachers of performing arts whom the University had kept underfed by not regularizing their services despite using them to churn out masters these long six years, why have you, like obedient slaves, signed on a resolution that declares to disengage working “guest lecturers” to engage “guest lecturers” in work in their places? Why could you not stand with your conscience? Why this treachery is played against a brilliant and dedicated segment of our performing artists that have made their remarkably bright contributions to the University of Culture?

Timid fellows always try to ingratiate themselves with power holder by honoring their orders howsoever wrong and whimsical that be.

But each one of you above named members of the BoM of the University, is viewed as a luminary. Timidity to the extent of making a farce of a resolution of the type discussed above was the last thing one should have expected from you.

Baffling design

Those, who put premium on the dignity of our artists, must feel most disappointed over the treatment given to the teachers of UCC by a bureaucrat, who, instead of waiting for a couple of days for the regular VC to join and take a decision in the matter, has executed a mischievous resolution coined through a tamed team of members in the University BoM, that wants to replace “Guest Lecturers” with “Guest Lecturers”.

This baffling design cannot be defined in real terms. But, unless there is a secret purpose to recruit favored persons, why vacancies have been created in such a mischievous manner?

The teachers, who have thus been arbitrarily “disengaged” in a nefarious design of Tripathy to create vacancies for yet undisclosed favorites, have submitted a representation against their dismissal to the Governor-cum-Chancellor of the University.

But the Chancellor being the Governor of the State, the said representation is to pass through the barricade manned by the IAS biradari. Lest the biradari suppresses this appeal, we are inclined to publish the same in its entirety in our State’s cultural interest, with a request to our readers to attract in their own ways the attention of the Governor to the plight of the teachers of the University of Culture, of which he is the Chancellor. Here below is the copy of their representation:

To:
His Excellency the Governor of Orissa-cum-Chancellor, Utkal University of Culture,
Raj Bhawan,
Bhubaneswar

Sub: Prayer for quashing of Office Order No.841/UUC dated 15.5.2013 and for regularization in
Faculty positions held since 2007

Bhubaneswar, Dt.27.5.2013

Your Excellency,
We the following signatories are a few of the victims of the Office Order referred to above, putting the prayer of all the victims of the above order, as the rest of us have gone to their respective villages under unavoidable circumstances, authorizing us to represent them in this prayer petition.

Please be pleased to kindly take this petition as the petition of all the victims of the Office order referred to above.

The Utkal University of Culture had a requirement of faculties in PERFORMING ART in the departments of (1) Vocal Music in the areas of (a) Odissi Vocal (b) Hindustani Vocal; (2) Dance in the areas of (a) Odissi Dance (b) Chhow dance; (3) Instrumental Music in the areas of (a) Tabla (b) Odissi Pakhawaj ( c ) Flute (d) Violin; and (4) Drama in the areas of (a) Acting (b) Direction ( c ) Stage Craft. The University also required faculties of VISUAL ART in the departments of (1) Painting (2) Applied Art and Design.

It invited applications for the same posts through advertisements in mainstream papers, which is enclosed herewith as Annexure ‘A’.
When the ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATION underlined for faculty of Performing Art was:“M.Mus. or equivalent with 55% marks in concerned subject from a recognized University within the age group of 60 (sixty) years as on 01.03.2007. The preference will be given to the candidates having NIT/Ph.D./Good Academic career”, the same for faculty of Visual Art was: “M.F.A/M.V.A./Advance Diploma/Post diploma in Painting or equivalent with 55% marks from a recognized University within the age group of 60 years as on 01.03.2007.” with the same preference rider.
The University conducted tests and interviews and selected us for the permanent vacancies in the design of guest faculties; while the appointment notification had made it clear that all of us were “qualified” for “teaching and accompaniment” in the Appointment Notification No.1533/UUC dated 26.7.2007.

The said Notification noted that we were “professional / traditional and qualified persons” selected “for teaching and accompaniment in different branches of M.Music as mentioned against each under Utkal University of Culture as per the decision of the Selection Committee constituted by the University for the Academic session 2007-2008”.
This makes it clear that the University had appointed a “Selection Committee” to select “qualified” candidates for faculty positions against vacancies created in 2007-2008.

And, thereafter, no more authentic vacancies have ever been created, as all of us have been performing our duties regularly by having joined the vacant posts of 2007 under “decision” of the “Selection Committee” in 2007.

The University is a State creation and is supposed to be an ideal employer. But instead of regularizing us in our respective posts, as we were appointed by virtue of being “qualified’ for the post and selected by the “Selection Committee” created to fill up the vacancies created in 2007, it has kept us as guest faculties with improper and absolutely inadequate wages, despite our personal/collective representations to the Authorities umpteen times.

We have been working in the posts appointed to since 2007 and at no point of time any of us has been declared disqualified for the post he/she holds, though at two different occasions we were asked to update the University on our bio-data, which we have always complied with to the satisfaction of the authorities.

We have worked as full-fledged teachers rendering our services in every aspect of teachers’ functioning such as in the matters of syllabus, question paper setting, invigilation in examination, evaluation of answer papers and practical tests over and above taking up of all the classes and implementation of didactics. It may please be noted that there are only seven regular teachers appointed recently as against 15 departments of teaching in the University. It suffices to make Your Excellency appreciate that after filling up the vacant posts in 2007, we are the persons that have done the real teaching in the university in almost its entirety. The University should have regularized us since the beginning, which it has not done.

We were selected through a proper and legally constituted “Selection Committee” that had found us most suitable for the vacancies of 2007-2008 pool on the basis of our fulfilling the “Essential qualification” criteria laid down by the University in 2007 and ever since our joining the vacant posts, we have been doing our job with perfect precision, without which the University could not have run so far with 7 teachers only very recently regularized against 15 departments. The University authorities have always assured us of regularization once its economy is stable. And, as teachers and artists, simple in nature and believers in benevolence of the authorities as well as of the State, we have always stayed satisfied with the assurances.

But, sadly, Your Excellency, when we deserve to be regularized, like a bolt from the blue, the wrongful order under reference (Annexure ‘B’) has hit us on the head. Our representations to the members of the Board of Directors including the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar dated 18.5.2013 under Annexure ‘C’ and to the Vice-Chancellor on 24.5.2013 under Annexure ‘D’ and to the Registrar on the same day under Annexure ‘E’ have not fetched us any relief.

PRAYER

Under the circumstances, we pray Your Excellency to please intervene and to please protect our right to life by quashing the order under reference and by reinstating us and regularizing our employment as faculties on the following grounds:

* We have not done any negligence to our duties;
* We had duly appeared in the interview conducted by the Selection Committee legally constituted by the University to select candidates possessing the “essential qualifications” prescribed by the University to fill up vacancies caused in 2007;
* We were found “qualified” for the posts by the “Selection Committee”, the “decision” of which had materialized in our appointment;
* Ever since our joining, we have been doing our duties every day of academic functioning of the University, in every area of teaching and didactics;
* Ever since our joining, the posts we hold have never been declared vacant; and there has never been constituted another “Selection Committee” for vacancies, if any, which establishes that with our joining , the vacancies caused in 2007 have been completely filled up and we have been in regular jobs in regular posts though wrongfully treated as guest faculties;
* Ever since our joining, we have never been set disqualified;
Ever since our joining, we have never been found ineligible to work as faculty;
* Ever since our joining, we have regularly worked as faculties and our and only our role as faculties of the University has produced post-graduates in all the subjects the University has offered in performing arts and visual arts.
* When the University has 15 departments, with a mere seven members in regular posts appointed very recently, without us teaching regularly, the University could never have continued as a seat of learning; and this makes it clear that we have been working in posts of permanent nature since 2007 and keeping us branded as guest faculties with inadequate and improper wages to address classes of regular nature for so long a period was / is not in no consonance with employment ethics expected of an ideal employer;
* When the University is a State undertaking, it should act as an ideal employer and therefore, instead of jettisoning us for no fault of ours, the University should regularize us in our employment.
Unless Your Excellency intervenes and regularize us by quashing the order under reference, our right to life would be in serious jeopardy;

And, therefore, we pray Your Excellency to please quash the order under reference and to be pleased to pass necessary orders to reinstate us and regularize our employment.

AND FOR THIS ACT OF KINDNESS, AS IN DUTY BOUND, MOST FERVENTLY WE PRAY.

By the victims of Office Order No. 841/UUC dt.15.5.2013

Infusion of anarchy needs be stopped

It would be proper for the Chancellor to appreciate that the “disengaged” lecturers were legally “selected” to discharge regular jobs that the regular teachers should do, and had thereby de facto filled up the vacancies created in 2007, and therefore, their regularization was a de jure necessity.

Anything else than their regularization would be considered an anarchy in administration.

No IAS officer should be allowed to infuse anarchy into service. So, the Chancellor should act the Governor in this matter and review Tripathy’s activities as VC in-charge of the UCC and save the teachers by quashing the “Office Order” that has thrown a brilliant section of our creative community into a pernicious labyrinth of uncertainty and unemployment.

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