Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lecturers Strike: Students go to Courts

The Daily Mirror, 28/05/2011, By S.S.Selvanayagam

Three undergraduates have filed separate writ applications in the Court of Appeal asking that the letters of resignation submitted by the university heads of department be rejected.

They are seeking a writ of prohibition restraining the Vice Chancellors of the Wayamba, Ruhunu and Sri Jayawardenapura Universities, members of the Senates of these universities, the University Grants Commission, Deans of Faculties and Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake from accepting the letters of resignation submitted by the heads of department of the various universities.

The petitioners who filed the application are Asanka Bulegoda of the Wayamba University, Rasika Deshapriya Ratnayake of Sri Jayawardanapura University and A.H. Amarasinghe of the Ruhunu University. They had filed separate petitions against the resignation of Heads of Departments.

They are also asking Court to validate the writ of prohibition till the conclusion of all lectures and examinations of the current academic years.

Sixteen heads of departments of the Wayamba University, 26 of Sri Jayewardenepura University and 41 of the Ruhunu University had tendered letters of resignation as a part of their trade union action urging the government to grant them a salary increase.The petitioners said the salaries of the academic staff including the heads of departments, were increased by 36.25 per cent (as salaries and allowances) in the 2011 budget.

They said the acceptance of the letters of resignation was illegal, null and void and of no force or avail in law.

The petitioners’ state that the examination board and the senate would not be in a position to convene their meetings without the heads of departments.

They said the academic and other related functions of the universities and the degree programmes were affected due to the resignations while the non-academic staff is also unable to carry out their routine functions particularly those of an administrative nature.