What do suspended government employees do till a final decision is taken on the charges against them? If they are in Gwalior, they sit on plastic chairs at a place designated for suspended employees on the district collectorate premises.
In a room at the Gwalior collectorate is written “nilambit karmachariyon ke baithne ka sthan (place for suspended employees to sit)”. A printed paper with details like name, designation and the date of suspension is pasted above the chair occupied by the suspended employee.
“Suspension is not a paid holiday. They can’t roam around during suspension. They should sit and mark their attendance at a place where they have been attached,” Gwalior collector Anurag Chaudhary told The Indian Express.
The collector did not issue any formal order but gave “oral instructions” at a recent meeting of government departments.
Quoting the instructions given by the collector at the inter-departmental coordination committee meeting, an order bearing the name of Gwalior District Education Officer Vikas Joshi asked all school principals and block education officers to ensure that block or cluster headquarters has such a designated place for suspended teachers. The order, dated February 22, gave them time till February 25 to comply.
Joshi told The Indian Express that the order was revoked on Tuesday. He claimed the order was issued without his knowledge by “an in-charge” when he himself was attending a court hearing. He said teachers are suspended for lack of attendance and other disciplinary issues. The district has about 1800 schools.
Seconding the DEO, Chaudhary said someone else had issued the order and the DEO office was not at fault because his instructions had been followed. When asked why the circular was revoked, Chaudhary said the DEO will issue a fresh and detailed circular.
Sources in Gwalior said the order was withdrawn after government employee unions objected to the possible humiliation that teachers under suspension would be subjected to. An office-bearer on condition of anonymity said, “What will happen if an employee is found innocent after the inquiry?”
However, Chaudhary held his ground. “Where is the question of humiliation? If someone is under suspension, he is under suspension. A collector sits at a place meant for the collector and the additional collector sits at a place meant for the additional collector. The current status of the suspended employee is ‘suspended employee’ — what else can we write? We are here to save taxpayers’ money. What is wrong if we are trying to enforce discipline?”
The collector argued that there is no scheduled place for employees under suspension and he wants to ensure that they remain present at the place where they have been attached. He said they have not been asked to sit in a corridor or a lobby but inside a room.
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