Bihar’s department of education is contemplating to modify its May 18 order, which made payment of 7th UGC pay arrear to teachers in universities and colleges only after clearance from the pay verification cell of the government, following widespread protests form teachers and their associations across the state.
A senior department official said the department would put a rider that verification from the cell would not be required for those who have got the authentication slip for the sixth pay.
This would still prohibit nearly 1000 teachers from availing the 7th pay arrear, though they are drawing the revised salary. The matter will be referred to the department of finance for final approval. A department official said the department would exempt the new teachers appointed since 2017 from verification, as there was no issue with their salary fixation.
However, for two universities – BRA Bihar University (Muzaffarpur) and LN Mithila Univeristy (Darbhanga) – director, higher education, Rekha Kumari issued a separate order on May 20 to the registrars that verification of 7th pay revision from the cell was mandatory for arrear payment. Interestingly, the order has come when bulk of the teaachers have already got their arrear payment in BRA Bihar University.
The May 18 notification issued by special secretary, department of education, to all the registrars said that many vice chancellors had sought guidelines for arrear payment and it had been found that the pay verification cell had not yet issued the approval list for the 7th pay to them. The government has already been paying 7th UGC pay to teachers for nearly a year
Patna University teachers’ association (PUTA), federation of university teachers’ association of Bihar (FUTAB), teachers’ associations of College of commerce, Arts & Science, AN College and various other bodies questioned the role of cell in the university matters and the timing of the letter “at the behest of some VCs”.
“This is what makes things complicated when the state universities are headed by people who don’t have the idea of what happened in the past. The universities have a statutory body in the form of pay fixation committee to deal with such matters. The pay verification cell cannot overrule the statutory body,” said FUTAB president KB Sinha.
Sanjay Kumar, MLC and general secretary of FUTAB, cited the department’s own order of 2015 after a case against the constitution of the pay verification cell was filed in the Patna High Court. The 2015 order clearly defined the cell’s role in the light of the court ruling that it could not annul or modify previous notifications issued by the university through its statutory committee, unilaterally.
In its order, the HC had clearly defined the status and role of the pay verification cell, constituted by the state government on April 8, 2013 to authenticate all the claims of teachers and employees to prepare a comprehensive database.
“When the government has started paying 7th pay and also released funds for arrear payment, it shows the incompetence of the universities to delay it for months and then seek further guidelines to mislead the department, knowing fully well that when the PVC has not been able to complete verification in seven years, it could further take years to do the same,” said Sinha.