On Tuesday, the Govt of Tripura sought the Apex Court’s permission to re-appoint over 10,000 postgraduate, graduate & under-graduate teachers whose appointments were quashed on Court orders, as peons, night guards, gardeners, cooks & lower division clerks.
The State Govt in 2010 & 2014 recruited 1,035 PGTs, 4,666 TGTs & 4,612 UGTs through oral interview under the Revised Employment Policy, 2003. The HC on May 7, 2014, set aside the 2003 policy & quashed the appointment of all teachers. The Top Court on March 29, 2017, upheld the High Court order, directed framing of a new policy and fresh recruitment by Dec 31, 2017.
Though the new employment policy was framed in 2017, the State Govt continued the employment of terminated teachers on ad-hoc basis, citing shortage of teaching staff & non-completion of recruitment through proper advertisement & examination process. The SC on November 1, 2018, had permitted the state to continue with the ad-hoc engagement of terminated teachers till March 31, 2020.
However, in between, the state devised a method to step around the Supreme Court order & sought to recruit the terminated teachers by creating 12,000 posts to absorb them as student counsellors, school library assistants, academic counsellors, hostel wardens & school assistants. The age & qualification requirements were tailored to appoint the very same people whose appointments were quashed to the posts of teachers. The Top Court issued a contempt notice, which forced the state to stop the misadventure.
The Tripura Govt has now moved an application clarifying that the terminated teachers will be given no benefit of the years of service they have put in nor will they be given any legal right when they are absorbed as peons, night guards, gardeners, cooks, day guards, horticulture workers, Anganwadi supervisors, lower division clerks, panchayat secretaries, agriculture assistants, junior store keepers & fishery assistants. The state has identified 10,618 vacant posts in these categories in various departments.
During arguments before a bench of Justices U U Lalit, M M Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran, the terminated teachers through senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, Colin Gonsalves & Joydeep Gupta made a renewed effort to salvage their lost jobs. The lawyer also argued that some of them might be willing to take Group C & D posts, proposed by the state government, but demanded that they should be given the benefit of their past service as teachers with the state, even if they were appointed illegally. The Bench reserved its order.