THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Deepa Das, who was a library assistant on daily wage basis at the Civil Service Academy, which comes under the Centre for Continuing Education Kerala (CCEK), has been running from pillar to post to rejoin after she took maternity leave. She could not rejoin duty after completing her maternity leave, because she was just a daily wage employee.
Deepa approached the Higher Education Department several times, but in vain. She had gone for maternity leave in 2009 for four-and-a-half months. When she returned after the leave, she was told to quit by the CCEK without any reason.
At that time, CCEK officers said they could replace her at any time as she was only a daily wage labourer. Later, Deepa approached the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), which issued an order on December 5, 2016, directing CCEK to re-engage her on daily wages. But the Higher Education Department was reluctant to comply with the order, which prompted Deepa to approach the High Court.
Implement SHRC order: HC to CCEK
Considering her petition on February 14 in 2018, the HC directed CCEK to implement the SHRC order. Though the CCEK filed an appeal, the HC on May 28 ruled that Deepa’s request was justified and that she should be given due consideration. On June 28, she wrote to CCEK director seeking implementation of the order. However, the CCEK has not taken any steps to reinduct her so far.
Principal Secretary of Higher Education Usha Titus told Express no such posts were started afresh “We have not created any post of library assistant after she had gone on leave. No one has yet been appointed for the post either. So we are unable to comply with the HC order unless a post of library assistant is created. If a post is there for library assistant at CCEK, we will definitely consider her case,”.
In March 2016, the then UDF government had offered an enhanced pay package for contract and daily wage employees who had completed a fixed term. Soon, government departments, autonomous organisations and PSUs had initiated steps to regularise such employees. However, the promises remain on paper.