New Delhi: In a major relief to nearly two lakh contractual teachers in primary schools in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Allahabad High Court verdict declaring as illegal the state government's move to regularize their services and appoint them as Assistant Teachers.
"There is a need to consider every aspect of the case," a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit said and stayed the operation of the order passed by the High Court.
Advocate General Vijay Bahadur Singh, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, assailed the High Court order, claiming nearly 40 teachers, who lost their jobs as a consequence of the verdict, have committed suicide.
Senior advocates P Chidambaram and AM Singhvi, appearing for the teachers, said most of the affected teachers had been working since 1999.
The court, while staying the HC order, fixed the petitions for final hearing in the last week of February next year.
The High Court had on September 12 declared the state government's move illegal.
It had also quashed the amendments to the state education department's rules under which nearly 1.71 lakh contractual teachers, popularly known as Shiksha Mitras, were regularized.
The High Court had ruled that the state government's move violated the norms laid down by National Council for Teachers' Education (NCTE) as well as the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2010, both of which lay down that only those candidates who had cleared the Teachers' Eligibility Test (TET) could be appointed against regular vacancies.
The judgement, which affected the careers of nearly 1. 72 lakh Shiksha Mitras, had come on a petition filed by Shivam Rajan and others who had challenged the state government's decision.
Shiksha Mitras were appointed during the previous BSP rule in the state and had been provided a two-year Basic Training Course (BTC) meant for primary teachers through distance education.
In 2012, the newly-elected Samajwadi Party government initiated the process of regularizing their services, considered a populist measure, by bringing in the amendments.
Nearly 59,000 contractual teachers were regularized in the first phase in June, 2014 followed by another 73,000 in the second phase in June this year.
The third phase was put on hold after the Supreme Court stayed the same and asked the High Court to take a final decision on the matter.