Agartala/New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS): The Left Front government in Tripura was in a quandary after the Supreme Court on Tuesday postponed hearing of a petition challenging the state government’s recruitment of 12,000 non-teaching employees until January next year.
A division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit, on Tuesday postponed hearing of the contempt petition filed by a Tripura youth, to January.
The division bench of the apex court ordered that the ban enforced on October 4 on recruitment of 12,000 non-teaching staff shall remain effective till final hearing of the case, Education Minister Tapan Chakraborty told the media here quoting the court order.
The Supreme Court in an order on March 29 had upheld the Tripura High Court verdict terminating the jobs of 10,323 government teachers beyond December 31 citing some indiscretion.
In an apparent move to circumvent the order, the Tripura government in May announced it would recruit 12,000 non-teaching staff in the education department. This was to ostensibly “accommodate” the 10,323 teachers facing the axe after December 31 due to the Supreme Court verdict.
An unemployed youth from Tripura filed a contempt petition before the Supreme Court alleging the state government had violated the its order by trying to re-designate the posts of sacked teachers as well as by the process to appoint 12,000 non-teaching employees.
The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had sponsored the youth to file the contempt petition before the apex court. The BJP has denied it.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said the state government’s decision to recruit 12,000 non-teaching staff was not a contempt of the apex court order and it has the authority to go ahead with the recruitment, the Minister said.
However, with the case being sub-judice the Tripura government cannot proceed with recruiting the 12,000 non-teaching staff.
Chakraborty said due to the Supreme Court order, the state government will not issue any offer of appointment till the case is settled.
“The 10,323 government teachers who are to lose jobs after December 31 due to the apex court verdict could be eligible for the newly-created 12,000 posts,” he said.
The newly created non-teaching posts include Academic Counsellor (1,200 posts), Student Counsellor (3,400), School Library Assistant (1,500), Hostel Warden (300) and School Assistant (5,600).
Chakraborty said the 12,000 posts would not fall under the purview of Right to Education (RTE) Act and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) guidelines as they are not teaching posts, and the state government has full authority to recruit under these posts.
The Tripura government had earlier appealed to the Central government for relaxation in the norms of RTE Act for recruiting teachers in order to fill up the posts of teachers — an issue that is turning into a political hot potato ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.
The state also faces a dearth of eligible candidates to fill up around 16,000 teachers’ posts.