The C Times, 13th June 2017, Agartala: The terminated 10,323 teachers took strong exception to the way state Govt. failed to protect their jobs while the High Court saved the lives of Science teachers employed under the same rules and following the same procedures.
While speaking to media persons at Matangini Pritilata Hall here in Agartala city, newly formed All Tripura 10,323 Teachers Association president Bimal Saha said that today we held a state convention demanding immediate jobs for 10323 teachers in regular scale. We also demanded continuation of service and the govt. must take necessary steps to ensure the financial stability of the said teachers along with providing assurance to safeguard the teachers from all legal hassles that may arise in near future.
On May 7th, 2014, the Tripura high court, in response to 58 petitions, terminated the services of these teachers recruited by the state government in 2010 and 2013 as they were appointed by a policy not compliant with the obligatory qualifications mandated by the Right to Education Act, 2009.
The high court pointed out that the state government did not follow the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) guidelines in 2001 while recruiting them. However, with the Right to Education Act coming into play in 2009, the court said it should have recruited teachers as per the norms of the Act. The court asked the state government to formulate a fresh process of recruitment as mandated by the Act. While 1,100 of the teachers recruited were postgraduates, 4,617 were graduates and 4,606 were undergraduates.
Though the Manik Sarkar government revised the existing recruitment policy in January 2014 – before the high court order was delivered – it filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court in response to the high court order to protect the jobs of those teachers already appointed under the old policy. It also reportedly wrote to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRC) seeking the relaxation of rules for them.
Two other SLPs were also filed in the apex court in response to the high court order – one by those teachers set to lose their jobs, and the other by some who would be benefitted by the order.On December 8, 2014, a division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice Arun Mishra, stayed the Tripura high court order, thus allowing the teachers to continue in their jobs till further orders.
However, giving its final judgement on March 29, the apex court upheld the high court order but allowed the affected teachers to continue at their posts until December 31st. It asked the state government to initiate a fresh recruitment policy through the Teachers Eligibility Test as prescribed under the Right to Education Act by May 31st and complete it by December 31.
Recently on 9th June 2017, the High Court of Tripura the high court of Tripura in a judgment upheld the jobs of science teachers given to 962 candidates in 2012. Having heard the case filed by altogether 16 petitioners for two consecutive days, Justice Shubhasish Talapatra of the high court in a verbal order today upheld the jobs of the science teachers and allowed them to continue in service as before. However, justice Talapatra directed the state government to give jobs to 10 of the 16 petitioners, depending on their eligibility for the jobs within next six months. Sources in the high court said that since the case had been hanging fire over past five years since 2012, Justice Talapatra conducted two consecutive hearings and gave a verbal order, considering the urgency of the matter. The detailed order will be issued soon.
Bimal Saha, President of the All Tripura 10,323 Teachers Association, said that “Justice Talapatra’s order bears an uncanny resemblance to the order passed by Justice B.K.Sharma of Guwahati high court’s Agartala bench in the case of 10,323 teachers of three categories. Justice Sharma had also directed the state government to constitute a committee to go into the grievances of petitioners in the case and, if eligible, give them jobs.
But on that occasion, the state government had not complied with the order and ultimately the case was heard by then chief justice of Tripura high court Deepak Kumar Gupta and Justice Swapan Chandra Das. The bench disposed of the case through a final order on May 7th 2014, dispensing with the services of all the teachers with prospective effect from 1st January 2015. But the state government affected teachers and their associations had filed appeals to the Supreme Court which in its order on March 28th this year upheld the high court order and the 10,323 teachers now face the axe”.
The government can’t discriminate. But we have a feeling that sate govt. submitted its case to the High Court in a predetermined way to protect the jobs of the science teachers which it had not done in our case.
If the demands that we have put up in front of the govt. today are not fulfilled at the earliest then we will go for a mass movement, said Bimal Saha.