Chitra V. Ramani

As many as 1,200 teachers have been placed in this temporary position

Assistant headmasters are promoted according to seniority even when there is no vacancy

They are placed under Rule 32 until a vacancy in headmasters’ position opens up

Bangalore: “We are headmasters only in name. Though we have been promoted, we continue to function as assistant headmasters,” said Eshwar Murthy, Chikkakuntooru Government High School, Malur taluk, Kolar district.

Mr. Murthy is just one among the 1,200 disgruntled headmasters who have been placed under Rule 32 of the Cadre and Recruitment Rules, which is a “temporary arrangement”. However, there are many headmasters who have functioned under Rule 32 for many years and even retired. Once placed under Rule 32, the headmasters neither enjoy officiating powers nor get monetary benefits, Mr. Murthy said. “We cannot take any decision on our own. We are caught in a limbo,” he said.

What is Rule 32?

Rule 32 allows a government employee to be appointed in charge of the duties of a vacant post if he is eligible to be promoted to officiate in that post, or if he is holding a post in an equivalent or higher grade.

According to the rules, the assistant headmasters are promoted as per seniority even when there is no vacancy. They are placed under Rule 32 until a vacancy in headmaster’s position opens up. In reality, though vacancies arise, none of those under Rule 32 have been asked to fill the posts.

Sachidananda Murthy, a Rule 32 headmaster of Hurulagere Government High School in Malur taluk, also said that the promotion is just on paper. “We hardly get any benefits. This is de-motivating. This system is peculiar to the Department of Public Instruction. According to recruitment rules, no one should be placed under Rule 32 for more than six months. But here it does not seem like a temporary arrangement,” he said.

Rajeshwari D., Rule 32 headmistress of Kudianooru Government High School, Malur taluk, said she had not received any monetary benefits. “The department opts for direct recruitment and places us, who have experience, under Rule 32. This is unfair,” she said. C. Narayanaswamy of the Karnataka State High School Assistant Masters’ Association said that by placing headmasters under Rule 32, the department was just discouraging them. “Placing them under Rule 32 is considered by many to be a punishment posting. These teachers are the ones capable of improving the quality of government schools,” he said.

Commissioner’s view

There are two recruitment avenues — direct recruitment and in-service promotions. A department cannot favour one over the other, said Kumar G. Naik, Commissioner, Department of Public Instruction. According to norms, 75 per cent of the vacancies are filled through in-service promotions and the remaining through direct recruitment. He, however, admitted that there may have been cases when headmasters have been under Rule 32 for many years and even retired.

“After promotion, headmasters are placed under Rule 32 as a temporary measure. As and when the list of direct recruits and seniority list is ready, the Rule 32 headmasters are given their posts. They are placed under Rule 32 as a stop-gap arrangement,” he said.