NEW DELHI, Feb 8 � In a major relief to the Assam Government, the Supreme Court today vacated the Gauhati High Court�s stay order, paving the way for the recruitment of over 82,000 elementary school teachers in the State.
The Gauhati High Court had on March 5, 2010 imposed a ban on further recruitment of teachers in lower and upper primary schools. The High Court had said that any appointment of teachers could take place only with its permission. �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, cannot take place,� the High Court had ruled.
Later, following an appeal by the State Government, the High Court revised its order and allowed recruitment of 12,800 teachers in lower and upper primary schools. In the Supreme Court, the State Government had pleaded that some 95,000 posts were lying vacant.
An apex court bench headed by Justice Deepak Verma and Justice KS Radhakrishnan vacated the Gauhati High Court order on a petition by the Assam Government contending that the ban was causing difficulties in the running of schools.
Appearing for the State Government, senior counsel Ashok Desai told the court that Assam needed teachers in elementary schools to fulfil the mandate of compulsory education under the Right to Education Act (RTE).
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.�
Assailing the impugned order, the petition said that the High Court, �while dealing with the matter was more benevolent and considerate about the purported future rights and claims of 3,813 irregularly appointed teachers� but ignored the fundamental right of the children for compulsory and quality education under the RTE Act, 2009.
The senior counsel told the court that the screening committee would undertake the screening of the teachers and those found suitable would be absorbed.
Ashok Desai said that the restraint order on fresh recruitment had created difficulties in running the schools and the absence of teachers could lead to the closure of a large number of such institutions.
When the Gauhati High Court had passed the restraint order, the State Government needed 95,159 teachers in elementary schools. However, in 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, it would lead to the closure of as many as 12, 739 elementary schools.
As a consequence of the High Court order, the petition said, Assam would be included as a defaulter State in terms of the RTE Act and lose posts of 28,793 teachers as sanctioned by the Central Government under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the last two years.
�The Assam Government appealed before the apex court and said that around 95,000 posts are lying vacant of which 28,000 can be recruited now,� Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told newsmen reacting to the apex court�s verdict.
�Since 2001, the appointment was stopped leading to closure of some schools. I will term the judgement as the victory of students and we will appoint 12,800 as regular teachers and another 28,000 as contractual teachers,� Sarma said.