Teachers’ strike: HC notice to TN govt, associations

Chennai: Hours before 10 teachers associations under the banner JACTO were to go on strike, the Madras High Court today issued a notice to Tamil Nadu government and the associations on a petition seeking to declare the strike as illegal.

Justice M M Sundresh, before whom the petition by one P Arokiya Doss, president of Tamil Nadu All Teachers Progress Forum, Chennai, came up, issued notice to the Secretary, Personnel and Administration Reforms Department and the Secretary, School Education Department and the associations.

The petitioner sought action against the associations that had come together to form a Joint Action Committee of Teachers Organizations (JACTO) to spearhead the strike on October 8.

Doss submitted that the organizations, ranging from primary school teachers forum to higher secondary school teachers and higher secondary school headmasters association, had been impleaded as party-respondents to the case as per the orders of the court on August 5.

Petitioner’s counsel said these organizations and associations had come together for personal and political reasons and that they were acting at the behest of their ‘political leader.

“If such illegal activity and publicity is not curtailed or nipped in the bud, they would claim to be saviours of the teaching community and turn teachers against the government,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner termed the agitators as non-government teacher s association leaders and alleged they had met some political leaders on August 2 and planned demonstrations against the government under the banner JACTO.

The strike has been called to create confusion among parents and students in Tamil Nadu, Doss said, adding that messages were being sent through mass media and social media forums such as WhattApp. These teacher-members have no locus standi to misuse the names of teachers in government schools as it would go against the disciplinary and conduct rules governing them, the petitioner said.

Noting that he had sent a representation to government seeking appropriate action against the striking teachers in March and July this year, Doss sought a direction from the court to the government to take action against the organisers.

The petitioner also wanted the court to declare the October 8 strike as illegal.

Doss submitted that persons running associations for personal benefit and political gains should face action for having declared an “illegal” strike as otherwise it would set a bad precedent.