JANAKURDHAM, March 2: The decision of Udaya Barbariya Yadav, the mayor of Dhanusha-based Shahidnagar Municipality to suspend the principal of Dhabauli Secondary School (DSS), Shree Prasad Gohibar, has ensued a dispute between the mayor and the Chief District Officer (CDO) Dilip Chapagain.
Principal Gohibar was dragged into controversy after the ward office of the municipality urged him to submit the details of the school’s expenditure of the last four years. Accusing him of misappropriating money meant for the construction of the school building and students’ scholarship, ward chief Manoj Kumar Sah recommended the municipality to take action against him.
Meanwhile, 13 out of 15 teachers of the school submitted a joint statement to the municipality stating that they feel unsafe working under the leadership of Gohibar.
According to Mayor Yadav, he suspended Gohibar in accordance to the prevalent laws as his behavior was not appropriate for the school and the teachers. After suspending Gohibar on February 12, the mayor had appointed secondary-level teacher Devendra Yadav as the acting principal of the school. However, CDO Chapagain on Sunday wrote a letter to the municipality telling it to withdraw the suspension. This has ultimately culminated in a dispute between the mayor and the CDO.
“After going through all the complaints filed against him, I decided to suspend him by using the rights assured to me by the government,” said Mayor Yadav. According to him, the principal was suspended after he failed to submit the financial details of the school on the given deadline.
However, CDO Chapagain has accused the mayor of taking the decision by breaching the law. “Mayor does not have the right to promote, transfer or suspend any teacher,” said CDO Chapagain, adding,” If the teacher is found involved in any kind of irregularities or misdeed, s/he should be referred to the District Education Office(DEO) instead.”
He further informed that he had to write a letter to the municipality urging it to take back the decision as he too is a member of the District Education Committee.
Mayor argued that keeping Gohibar in the position of the school principal may further damage the reputation of the school as a corruption complaint has been filed against him. He also stated that he is not going to reconsider his decision despite the objection of the CDO.
Since the formation of the local government, these kinds of disputes between the chiefs and CDO have become very common. Earlier, Bindeswar Yadav, chairperson of Laxminiya Rural Municipality, had internally transferred 14 teachers of the rural municipality. Following the decision, CDO Chapagain under pressure from teachers and some politicians had objected to the decision.
Despite the implementation of the constitution, lack of clear jurisdiction has resulted in clashes between several authorities, said Meghnath Yadav, regional secretary of Nepal Teacher’s Association.