Under Secretary Surjyanarayan Mohapatra in the higher education department is either purchased by a lady lecturer to help her get the job she had allegedly abandoned 10 years ago, or has been used by a scheming Chief Minister to pave the way for her joining as a reward to her husband Pradyumna Satpathy for sabotaging the Bhasha Andolan.
Ms. Manasi Sarangi, wife of Sri Satpathy, was deemed to have ended her employment as Lecturer in Botany in the U.N.Autonomous College, Adashpur with effect from 2.7.2008 as per rules governing unauthorized absence from duty.
She could have been informed of the end of her employment had Orissa Education Act (hereinafter called the ‘Act’) not made the prior approval of the Director of Higher Education (DHE) for such termination a requisite.The College was writing time and again to the DHE for his approval required under 10-A(1) of the Act. But DHE was neither approving nor rejecting the reference, even though under 10-A-(2) of the Act he was bound to answer the reference within 3 months with copies to the parties.
It is surprising that, instead of responding to the college communication for approval of Sarangi’s deemed to have ended employment, the DHE was putting pressure on the Principal to accept her joining, which being ultra vires the Act, the Principal was ignoring.
Den of Corruption
Office of the DHE is a known den of corruption. There was once an acrimonious debate in the Assembly over an allegation that it was a Machha Hata (fish market)! Pay money and get anything done per your desire. To the embarrassment of the then Minister, almost all including treasury bench members had supported the allegation. It was, therefore, not surprising that the DHE had sat over the college communication for official end of Sarangi’s employment.
Under such a peculiar situation , the Higher Education Department in the Government had itself conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and had concluded that, Ms. Sarangi had not performed her duties in the College since 02 July 2008. She was deemed to have ended her employment since then and could have been served with the end-of-employment order, had the DHE acted as per the Education Act.
Therefore, to subject her to disciplinary proceeding “under Rule 22 of the Orissa Education (Recruitment and Condition of Services of teachers and members of the Staff of Aided Educational Institutions) Rule, 1974” the Govt. had decided to place her in a college in or around Bhubaneswar. The DHE was directed to make such a placement under three stipulated conditions:
(1) The period of absence may be treated as breakage of service and she will not claim any benefit for the said period, (2) She will submit an undertaking in shape of affidavit to this effect and (3) The placement order will be issued by the DHE only after obtaining the said affidavit.
This Order was numbered- HE-FE-VI-MISC-0052/2015/13290/HE and was issued on 22.6.2015.
But the DHE, under “fish market” effect, did not comply with this government order. He even slept over repeated reminders from the Govt.
When the DHE was thus refusing to carry out the Government orders for her de jure dismissal, G.V.V.Sharma, a non-Oriya IAS officer became Secretary of the department. He was the man who had objected to and suppressed the draft Rules Sri Subhas Chandra Pattanayak had given to the Ministerial Committee on 3.9.2015. On coming to know about his mischief, Pattanayak had demanded that he be shunted out of Orissa. Ms. Sarangi made a representation to this Sharma for nullification of above quoted Order. Sharma, the marked anti-Oriya, took advantage of the same and trapped Satpathy, Pattanayak’s close aid in Bhasha Andolan, to sabotage the Andolan, so that he, as the boss in the department, may help his wife. With he willing, the CMO was informed of the development.
Govt.watched with delight that Satpathy and his gang stopped the Black Flag Campaign on the very day the wrongful Orissa Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed in the Assembly on 1.5.2018. Intelligence report was plenty to convince the Government that despite Subhasbabu’s tremendous discussions in the media on why the amendment must be rejected as anti-Oriya, and appeal for continuance of the Black Flag Campaign, Satpathy and his gang were not heeding to his appeal.
Highly pleased with the steady subterfuge, the Chief Minister agreed to help him have his wife’s status restored with retrospective effect. But the above quoted order of the Government, based purely on Law, was the greatest obstacle.
As per the secret pact with Pradyumna Satapathy, on May 18, 2018, the Higher Education Minister Anant Das asked the new Secretary of the Department Bisnupad Sethy to forthwith take steps for restoration of the status of Ms. Sarangi. Additional Secretary of HE, Krupasindhu Mishra was asked to see that Sarangi gets back her job sans any delay. Mishra immediately called Section Officer Pradeep Kumar Rout to his chamber and ordered him to prepare the file for “joining of Smt. Manasi Sarangi”.
Rout opened a new file and quoting from the Government order dated 22.6.2015, noted there that,“Smt.Sarangi is not performing her duty since 02.07.2008”. Indicating thereby how gross a misconduct was it, Rout noted that the DHE, despite two reminders, has not carried out the Govt. Orders and hence, “another reminder may be issued to the DHE.” This honest noting (Noting 1) of Rout being far from helping Ms. Sarangi, Mishra modified the attached draft and ordered the section officer to issue the modified version. Yet the Section Officer didn’t dance to the intention of the Additional Secretary.
CMO intervened and the Minister wanted the Additional Secretary to explain why the matter was not solved by then.
On June 19,2018 Rout was ordered to put up the file again. At 15:35:59 pm he informed, “DHE has not furnished any information after issue of reminders”.
This put the Additional Secretary in a jittery fix. He took up to himself the responsibility of rendering the marked obstacle inconsequential. In his noting (noting 4, dated 20 June, 2018 coined at 10:15:16 am), he surpassed every possible process of manipulation in tampering with a proper official note. He arbitrarily tampered with ‘Noting 1’ to constitute a Committee under his own chairmanship to inquire into the matter afresh so that the Order dated 22.6.2015 could be buried. He placed the file before the Secretary at 10:15:16 on 20 June 2018 and the Secretary approved the proposal the same day at 10:46:10 am. The unusual haste discernible in the matter is unprecedented also and highly suggestive of the pressure under which the officials had to work. By the end of the day Committee was formed.
Black Flag Campaign bartered
Black Flag Campaign of Bhasha Andolan was to resume on July 1st. Before that something should have to be done to convince Satpathy that the Government was sincerely working towards restoration of his wife’s status.
1st attempt to bury govt. decision
The so-called Committee discussed the issue on 22 June 2018. The Govt order of 2015 (quoted supra) was too legal to be overlooked. Order from the 3rd floor came very loud. “supersede that order”. And resolution passed to supersede that order. It would be interesting to study the decision of this Committee. We are quoting the same:
1. In supersession of all orders passed on the issue, Smt. Manasi Sarangi will be instructed by DHE to join in her present place of posting, i.e. U.N.(Auto) College, Adashpur within seven days of receipt of the Order.
2. She will submit an undertaking through affidavit with her joining report before the Principal to abide by future Govt. decision regarding her absent period.
3. The Principal will be instructed to accept the joining of Smt.Sarangi and to allow her to work until further Govt. orders.
This honest recording of the Committee’s decision by Section Officer Pradeep Kumar Rout did not suit the nefarious design, as this decision could not eliminate the officially admitted fact that she has not been performing her duty since 02.07.2008 (Noting 1 in File No.HE-FEVI-MISC-0060-2018). This is a gross misconduct calling for termination of service with retrospective effect as per a reigning 2013 verdict of the Supreme Court. Under Para 12 of the final verdict, it is said,
“Absence from duty in the beginning may be a misconduct but when absence is for a very long period, it may amount to voluntary abandonment of service and in that eventuality, the bonds of service come to an end automatically without requiring any order to be passed by the employer” (2013) 10 SCC 253 (Vijay S. Sathaye v. Indian Airlines Limited and others).
The Principal strongly told the Committee that the Managing Committee of the College being the employer of Ms. Sarangi, the Govt has no authority to force the Principal to accept her joining report when she has no living job. They may only force the DHE to approve or refuge to approve under Section 10-A(2) of the Education Act the College communication to treat her as deemed to have ended employment from the day of her absence or to reject the College proposal, the Principal emphatically asserted.
The DHE could not have rejected the College proposal in view of her long willful absence. On the other hand, Orissa Service Code has fixed a peculiar responsibility on the Govt. in matter of extension of joining time. At (15) 4 in Chapter VII, it has laid down that the the department concern shall have to “record the circumstances” in which the normal procedure of leave is not followed.
Had this procedure been followed, it would have been impossible for any sane administration to condone her misconduct. Therefore, the Section Officer was pressurized to manage the situation which he declined.At 19:49:15 pm on the day the Section Officer submitted his note, the Additional Secretary, surprisingly, asked him again for his “considered views”. Obviously he was forced to tell something in his note which would form the basis of further proceeding to place Ms. Sarangi in her job. The Section Officer refused to act illegal. Time passed by.
Fidgets caused by Black Flag Campaign
Black Flag campaign was to recommence on July 1. That was putting the Govt. in fidgets.
If it commences, it may be difficult for Satpathy to stop the same. Consequentially, that may mar the prospect of his wife’s employment.
Satpathy’s hidden agenda
In the circumstances, Satpathy begged Sri Pattanayak to defer the Black-Flag recommencement day to July 16,2018. Sri Pattanayak, without knowing the hidden agenda, agreed to. The Government, failed as they to persuade the Section Officer to change his noting, finally picked up an under secretary to do what the Section Officer had refused to do.
Under Secretary kills Government decision
The file was, on oral orders, transferred to Under Secretary Surjyanarayan Mohapatra, who, in Noting 11 changed the entire scenario of absence of Ms. Sarangi from “nonperformance of duty” to “enforced idleness”. By suppressing the government finding that Ms. Sarangi “has not been performing her duties since 2.7.2008”, Mohapatra noted, “for none of her faults she is kept out of service and has not been allowed to join” and therefore, “gross illegality has occurred” in her case. He, thus, not only dismissed the govt order No.13290/HE dated 22.6.2015, but also the decision of the Departmental committee presided over by the Additional Secretary noted in the file on 22.6.2018, where it was noted that, Ms. Sarangi, on joining her College, “will submit an undertaking through affidavit with her joining report before the Principal to abide by future government decision regarding her absent period.”
Additional Secretary enjoyed the rape
The Under Secretary, in fact, superseded all the previous Govt. Orders and “to re cope the remedy” he suggested that there shall be no necessity of any undertaking from her and because she was “kept out of service”, the period of her absence shall be regularized. And, Krupasindhu Mishra, the Additional Secretary, gladly enjoyed the rape of the decision taken in the Committee under his chairmanship on 22.6.2018. This under secretary thus made out a case in favor of Sarangi by killing the earlier Govt. orders in the evening of 11.7.2018 at 18:08:27 pm and the file run to the Secretary the next day in the noon. Without application of mind, the Secretary Bishnupada Sethi forwarded the file to R. Balakrishnan (Additional Chief Secretary, who simply noted ଯଥା ସଂଶୋଧିତ (as corrected) at 18:25:36 pm of 12.7.2018.
Satpathy blackmailed the Govt.too
All this done,there was still a problem. Regularization of her service was to involve more than a crore of Rupees. Higher Education Minister was a bit upset. When the file came to him from the ACS, he wanted to know of the reaction of the Finance Department. July 14 and 15 were holidays. July 16 was a Monday and on that day the Black Flag Campaign was to resume. Unless the HE Minister clears the file positively before July 16, it would be impossible for him to halt the campaign, Satpathy told Finance Minister Shashibhusan Behera who was also working on behalf of the CM to derail the Bhasha Andolan. Behera told HE Minister Anant Das to clear the file, as, with himself as the Finance Minister, there shall be no objection from the Finance Department.
Shenanigans of July 16, 2018
Shenanigans of July 16 are just chilling for any responsible citizen to whom probity in public life is important.
Higher Education Minister Anant Das, on this day, prodded by Finance Minister Shashibhusan Behera and the shadow controller – CMO – noted on the file at 14:11:06 pm – ଯଥା ପ୍ରସ୍ତାବିତ (as proposed). Satpathy with his gang entered into the Secretariat at 4:30 pm ignoring the Black Flag Campaign scheduled to start at 5 pm. Finance Minister Shashi Behera coordinated the movement of the file. At 17:54:39 Secretary HE sent the file back to the Additional Secretary Krupasindhu Mishra,who at 18:21:20 pm ordered for issuance of the employment order to wife of Pradyumna Satpathy. And, the much relaxed gang at 6.45 reached the podium of Madhubabu and announced, “We have given words to Finance Minister Sashibhusan Behera to stop the Black Flag Campaign, as he has assured that the defects in the language Law would be removed.
A shocked Subhas Chandra Pattanayak had asked them to wait till release of a Govt Press Note in that regard. But, at 7 pm they arbitrarily announced that the Black Flag Campaign has been stopped.
The idiots have no loco standi to stop the campaign founded by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak and supported by the whole nation of Oriyas. They knew it. And Orissa has proved it. But, had they not sabotaged the movement for personal financial benefit like this, the Language Law might have been properly corrected by now.
More than their offence, the conduct of the Chief Minister in employing his ministers to oblige Sri Satpathy with renewal of her employment of his wife with retrospective effect, so that the Bhasha Andolan could be derailed, is gruesome. It has not only affected the most ideal social movement of Orissa for fulfilling the very purpose of creation of the State, but also it has the mischief to denude the State Treasury of more than a crore of Rupees.
If the employment of Manasi Sarangi is regularized with the period of her absence, the State Treasury shall have to cough more than a crore of Rupees up towards her back wages for the period she has deliberately stayed away from her duties in the College.
The matter would be further exposed and discussed.