Some members of West Bengal Govt. College Teachers’ Association consistently opposed its highly undemocratic functioning. The leadership displayed utter unwillingness to launch movements towards the cause of education and protection of the interest of Govt. college teachers. It considered the State Govt. as ‘friend’, lavished benefits and various undue advantages to those who were close to the leadership, cast aspersions on the critics of the leadership, maligned them in various ways and influenced the Govt. to transfer them unjustifiably to disadvantageous places. Being unsuccessful to change the situation, some honest teachers decided to form a new Association with a view to launch movements in the interest of education in general and Govt. college teachers in particular. As a result, All Bengal State Govt. College Teachers’ Association was formed at a convention held on the 15th January, 1984 at the Tripura Hitasadhini Hall, Kolkata . Some instances of the undemocratic functioning of the leadership are mentioned below.
Differences between the leadership and some bold and honest members cropped up for the first time over the problems faced by the Ad-hoc teachers. Due to the opposition of the leadership more than 100 Ad-hoc teachers were on the verge of losing their service. A special conference was convened to discuss the problem. Most of the members present in the conference opposed the leadership and demanded voting. But apprehending that they will be defeated, the leadership most undemocratically discontinued the conference keeping the discussions incomplete. In another instance, the leadership did not implement the movement resolution demanding fulfillment of the long-standing demands of Government College teachers adopted in General Meeting of the Association because they were reluctant to launch any movement against a “friendly government”. The leadership did not implement the movement programme adopted by the majority of the members at an “Opinion Poll”. The reluctance on the part of the leadership to launch movements was the cause of the devaluation of the service of Govt. college teachers.
Some revolting members printed leaflets on different problems and commenced discussions with the general members. Their criticism was open, constructive and wholly democratic. They also contested in the elections. But the leadership started casting aspersions on these critics. They tried to corner and outwit the critics. When these members felt that it was quite impossible to restore democracy within the Association, then, with the objective to rejuvenate the Govt. Colleges teachers with a new sense of direction, they formed a new Association (ABSGCTA) in 1984. They felt that to stop the devaluation of Govt. colleges and protect the interest of Govt. college teachers a democratic Association was necessary. On the eve of forming the Association they had some well thought objectives. For instance, they wanted a clear policy on education, a G.O. stating clearly the transfer policy and implementing it without favour or discrimination, protection of democratic rights and dignity, etc. The newly formed Association played significant roles in different colleges and launched movements according to its strength and achieved some success. In some cases it had to go to the Court of Law for justice. For example, while implementing the 1986 UGC pay scales the Govt. changed the date of increment of the teachers. The Association demanded that the date of increment should not be changed. But as the Govt. did not comply with, the members moved to the Court and realized the demand by the order of the Court. Again, when in 1996 the Govt. abruptly discontinued re-employment of Govt. college teachers, the Association organized the affected teachers and went to the Court. Though the Association could not win, the Court ordered the Govt. to pay the teachers their dues up to the date of order. The Association moved to the Court for enhancing the age of retirement of the teachers up to the age of 62 years. The Hon’ble Supreme Court agreed with all our arguments and recommended enhancement of the age of retirement of the teachers up to the age of 62 years. On the plea that it is only a recommendation, not an order, the former Govt. did not implement the recommendation. The present Govt. also is silent about it. It is to be mentioned here that when the case was filed, UGC’s recommendation regarding age of superannuation was 62 years.