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15 years on, sacked health dept. employees running from pillar to post for reinstatement

By Tarique Anwar, TwoCircles.net,

Patna: Though political Hinduism has never been completely absent from the history of post independence India, in the last few years it seems to have gained a firm foothold in the Indian society. Some noteworthy changes seem to be taking place in a society that is extraordinarily diverse. One of these changes is the surfacing of discrimination and the rise of violence against Muslims in India.

History has witnessed that appointments made by the Muslim Speaker of the State Assembly or by the Chairman of the Legislative Council, have been cancelled. And the same pattern is followed in other departments as well.

When a Muslim officer having the authority of appointment, appoints someone on or against any vacant position, then other officers cancel it after his retirement or transfer.

A similar case came to light in the tuberculosis directorate of the state government health department in Bihar. More than two thousand employees had been appointed by the then Muslim deputy director of the TB directorate, Dr A A Mallick on 1st January 1980 but as soon as he left the office, all of them were terminated from their post on 13th April 1993 by the health commissioner, ignoring the fact that they had rendered their services for 13 years. The sudden sacking caused hunger and misery in hundreds of families.

The sacked employees included several from the minority community. The appointment of these employees had been cancelled on account of false allegation of illegal appointments made by the deputy director, TB directorate. Many higher officials of the directorate had also been appointed at the same time by the same person but only employees of lower rank were targeted and they were told that all documents of their appointment got lost in fire.

The Supreme Court of India has also interfered in this matter and gave its verdict but it did not leave any effect and the employees have not been appointed yet.

The dismissed employees formed a union called ‘Bihar Rajya Chhatni Grast Yakchma Karamchari Sangharsh Samiti’ and they are struggling for their right under its banner since 1993 but they have not been reappointed so far.

Md Sharfuddin, secretary of the union, told TwoCircles.net that the way in which appointment made by a Muslim director had been cancelled in Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government in the state shows its dual policy for Muslims and also reflects its pseudo secularism. He further stated that when he used to go with their appeals to the authorities concerned then at first their appeal would be listened very sympathetically but when the officers came to know that they belong to minorities and had been appointed by Dr Mallick, then their behaviour suddenly turned impolite and they would refuse to listen to them.

He said that his union has become victim of communalism despite having lot of representation from majority community.

Sharfuddin said that legislator Kalim Ahmad on 14th July 1987 and legislator Naval Kishore Shahi on 21st July 1987 raised this issue in the state assembly and the assembly also gave its ruling which says that no one has right to cancel legal appointment. Health Minister of that time also admitted that the appointment made by Dr Mallick was not illegal. But everything was for consolation. It made no effect on the ground.

Sharfuddin alleged that the present director of TB directorate doesn’t want to take back the sacked employees. Sharfuddin said that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ordered the department of health to look into this matter and take necessary steps but nothing has been done by the authorities in response to his order. Not only this but also the verdict of Supreme Court has been ignored.

TwoCircles.net is in possession of a copy of the decision of Supreme Court which has directed the state government in Para No. 1 that respondent-state of Bihar may start at the earliest a fresh exercise for recruiting class III and class IV employees in the Tuberculosis Eradication Programme undertaken by the state as a part of 20-point programme on the available 2250 vacancies or even more vacancies as the case may be, preferably within three months from the receipt of a copy of that order.

In Para no. 2 the court says:”Towards the said exercise the state will publish a notice in all the newspapers having circulation in the state applications for direct recruitment to class III and class IV employees for filling up these vacancies in the said programme.

Para 6 of the judgement says, “It would be open to all the appellants or those appointed by Dr Mallick, who might not have challenged termination orders before any competent court up till now to apply for selection to the concerned class III and class IV posts. The committee would in their cases as first step, verify and satisfy itself of the credentials of such candidates. Whether they were appointed by Dr Mallick and had worked at least for three years continuously. The committee would also satisfy itself that such candidate or candidates honestly and meritoriously discharged their duties as class III and class IV appointees at aforesaid period.

It is mentioned in para 7 that the committee may fix total number of marks to be obtained by the candidates for being treated to have passed the selection test. Any relaxation in the minimum eligibility marks to be obtained by the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes candidates as found necessary may also be decided by the committee. The committee if satisfied about the credentials and other particulars of the appellants or those appointed by Dr Mallick as mentioned in paragraph 6 above, may allot additional marks to them for each of the three years and more for which they might have worked at the rate of 2 marks for each completed of continuous working up to the maximum of 6 marks, for each candidate. Candidates appointed by Dr Mallick, who are found to have undertaken training pursuant to the government direction dated 31-01-1987 may be awarded 2 additional marks for the training so received. Those 2 marks will be in addition to the 6 marks which are to be awarded on completion of meritorious and honest service by the concerned employees as mentioned above.

But unfortunately the state government did not execute any one order of the court properly.

Sharfuddin said that when they wanted to know the fact of progress as per ‘Right to Information Act’ (RTI) then the officials concerned make delay in giving the details of facts. “We are very disappointed since no one is listening to us”, said Sharfuddin while talking to TwoCircles.net. When asked if he has high expectation from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, he denied saying whole system is corrupt.

He clearly said that it is part of a well-planned conspiracy against Muslims. Since a Muslim officer took the decision make appointments on large scale, using his power, this could not digested by the government and finally all of the employees appointed by him were removed from their posts after his retirement. The case is a great evidence of prejudice and double standard for a particular community by the government that claims for its secular candidature.

He appealed to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Chairman of Bihar State Minority Commission Naushad Ahmad and former Chairman of Bihar Legislative Council and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Jabir Hussain to interfere in this matter to ensure justice to them. He also warned that if their demand is ignored anymore then their struggle would be violent.