Supreme Court has asked AICTE to protect teachers being blackmailed and Harassed, in Private Engineering Colleges across the country. Former Assistant Professor K.M. Karthik through his Counsel, Advocate Abhishek Yadav, submitted before an attentive bench that for a Teacher to deliver the “Enlightened Service” expected of him or her, he should first stop being subjected to “Blackmail & Harassment” by College managements.
Yadav, in a PIL before the Court, was referring to the plight of over 4 lakh teachers in various Private Engineering Colleges, recognized by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), across the Country. He argued that “The present scenario of unemployable students coming out of private Colleges is a direct result of unmotivated professors who is at the mercy of their managements”. “Private Engineering Colleges are in the practice of confiscating the original Degrees & Certificates of the recruited staff, withholding the salaries of the faculty/staff for months with an intention to blackmail & harass the staff. Colleges do not maintain the required student-staff ratio during entire term.
Another malpractice is the appointment of fake faculty at the time inspections for affiliation,” Yadav argued. The petition prayed for regularization and timely payment of staff salaries, inspections to verify student-staff ratio through annual salary paid statements, penalization of colleges which withhold, collect or possess original educational or professional certificates of staff members and the setting up of a Directorate or commission to redress the grievances of staff working in Private Engineering Colleges.
Moved by the petition, the Court, after a brief but thoughtful consideration, ordered the AICTE to treat the Petition of Karthik as a representation. The Court ordered that the “AICTE shall take a conscious decision in respect of issues canvassed and take such remedial action, as may be called for, in consonance with law”. The Court’s order was in response to Yadav’s fervent argument that the “Malpractices are hampering the technical education system of India thereby has a direct impact on the development of the country”. The Petition alleged that teachers in some of these Colleges suffer from Low Morale, with low chances of getting a job elsewhere as their original documents are seized or even destroyed. “Even upon resignation by the staff members, the colleges adopt arm-twisting tactics and refuse to return the said original certificates,” the Petition said.