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Apex court clears decks for Assam teachers' recruitment

Wednesday February 08, 2012 09:31:32 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday set aside a Guwahati High Court order to pave the way for recruiting more than 82,000 elementary school teachers in Assam.

The Guwahati High Court, in its March 5, 2010 ruling, had imposed a ban on "further recruitment of teachers in upper and lower primary schools of the state, be it on regular, ad-hoc or contractual basis without taking the leave of the court".

An apex court bench of Justice Deepak Verma and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan lifted the ban on a petition by the Assam government contending that it was making it difficult to run schools.

Appearing for the Assam government, senior counsel Ashok Desai told the court that the state government needed teachers in elementary schools to fulfill the mandate of compulsory education under the right to education act.

The bone of contention was 3,813 teachers which the high court, by its March 5 order, had said would be "adequately protected by the court".

Attacking the high court order, the petition said that "while dealing with the matter (it) was more benevolent and considerate about the purported future rights/claims of 3,813 illegally/irregularly appointed teachers" but ignored the fundamental right of the children for compulsory and quality education under the right to education act.

Desai said that if fresh recruitments did not take place, 7,691 schools would have just one teacher as opposed to two under the act and 12,739 schools would not have a single teacher.

The apex court was told that no appointment has been made in the state's elementary schools for last several years in wake of various interim orders passed by the high court from time to time.

When the high court had passed the restraint order, the state government needed 95,159 teachers in elementary schools. However, hearing the state government plea seeking the review of the restraint order, the high court permitted the filling up of the 12,819 posts of regular teachers only.

The petition told the court that if the restraint order was not stayed, then it would lead to the closure of as many as 12,739 elementary schools.

The consequence of the high court order, the petition said, was that Assam would be included as a defaulter state in terms of the RTE Act and would lose posts of 28,793 teachers as sanctioned by the central government under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (universal literacy campaign) in last two years.

Desai also told the court that the screening committee would undertake the screening of 3,813 teachers and those found suitable would be absorbed.







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