The Calcutta High Court has directed that all schools in West Bengal will issue no-objection certificate within four weeks to teachers for general or mutual transfer, while ordering demotion of a headmistress for refusing the NOC to a teacher for transfer to a different institute despite her poor health condition. Taking a stern view of the refusal by the headmistress and terming ”frivolous” a cross-petition filed by her and the school of which she is the secretary of its managing committee, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay also ordered the petitioners in it to pay a penalty of Rs 20,000 to be paid to the assistant teacher within two weeks from date.
”Today, I feel, a direction is required to be passed for all the schools in respect of which the general transfer or mutual transfer is applicable to issue the no-objection certificate to the teachers who will file application for no-objection, within a period of four weeks from the date of receiving of such application by a school unless issuance of such no-objection certificate is barred by law,” Justice Gangopadhyay directed in the judgement passed on Monday. He said that at present there is no rule within which period the NOC is to be issued by a school to a teacher who wants a transfer. As soon as any appropriate rule in this respect would be framed and given effect by the state, this general direction will automatically become inoperative, the court directed.
The court denuded Chhabi De Konar from all her powers as a headmistress of the school forthwith ordering that ”she is removed from the post of the headmistress of the school. ”Henceforth she will act as an assistant teacher of the school and will take classes like any other assistant teachers; her scale of pay etc., if necessary can also be varied by the appropriate authority,” the court ordered. The order was passed in a petition by a lady teacher for transfer from her present school to another, which is pending for almost two years as it was filed on August 30, 2019.
The court noted that the teacher Aparna Munshi had wanted to withdraw her petition following an alleged condition put on her by her school that the NOC for transfer will be given to her only if she withdraws it. Ujjal Ray, the petitioner’s lawyer, submitted that the release order was not given to her by the school despite repeated prayers by her.
Justice Gangopadhyay directed the authority of the school to issue a release order forthwith to Munshi. ”When the school is mandated by the law to issue no-objection certificate why a school teacher has to write to the headmistress with folded hands unless the headmistress time and again has denied giving NOC and unless she has posed herself a feudal head of some fiefdom in this country that a teacher has to pray for a no-objection certificate in folded hands !” the court observed.
The court noted that the distance of the school from the residence of the teacher is more than 200 kilometres and that she has been suffering from a complicated gynecological disease and has undergone operations for it. It also noted that she delivered a child in 2016 and the teacher’s cancer antigen result report was of a higher level than that of the referral range.
The teacher supplied all her medical treatment papers twice to the school and, on demand of the school, again from a government hospital as stated in her writ application, which was not denied by the school in its affidavit-in-opposition, the court said. ”Even then No Objection was not given by the Headmistress of the school, who is the Secretary of the Managing Committee of the school,” Justice Gangopadhyay noted.
”Except for harassing the teacher who has prayed with folded hands before the said feudal head in the form of a headmistress for issuance of a no-objection certificate there was no other object for filing such a frivolous writ application by the school,” the court observed. The school and the headmistress filed the writ petition against the state and its functionaries like the commissioner of school education and the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, raising objection to the transfer of the teacher. The state authorities had issued the transfer order of the teacher twice but the school did not give her NOC.