The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh government not to fill up all the 69,000 posts of assistant basic teachers and instead keep 37,339 posts vacant, which are currently held by 'shiksha mitras'.
The top court said it had directed the state government on May 21 that the services of all the Siksha Mitras, presently working on the post of assistant teachers, shall not be disturbed.
A bench of Justices MM Shantangoudar and Vineet Saran said that despite the order "it is, prima facie, borne out from the records now produced that the State Government is proceeding with the selection to fill up all the posts. Such process to be adopted by the State Government shall not be permitted in view of the interim order passed by this Court on May 21, 2020".
The top court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging various orders of the high court and the government on the issue of appointment of assistant basic teachers.
Counsel for petitioners pointed out that it was not disputed by any party that 37,339 persons, who are currently working as 'shiksha mitras', have appeared for the examination of assistant basic teachers.
"In view of the same, it is open for the state government to fill up the remaining posts of assistant teachers other than 37,339. In other words, 37,339 posts of assistant teachers shall be kept vacant. Other posts can be filled up," the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on July 14.
Appointment of assistant basic teachers in Uttar Pradesh has seen several rounds of litigations from the high court to Supreme Court. It is in the second round of litigation in the top court.
On June 3, the Allahabad High Court, while hearing pleas of several unsuccessful candidates, had stayed the appointment of 69,000 assistant basic teachers in the state, holding that there has been an 'error' in the evaluation of question paper.
The top court on May 21, had issued notice and sought state government's reply on a batch of pleas challenging the May 6 verdict of the Allahabad High Court which upheld the state's decision to keep higher cut-off marks for the appointment of 69,000 assistant basic teachers.
It had said that pending notice, the services of all Shiksha Mitras who are presently holding their posts as assistant teachers shall not be disturbed.
The top court had, however, allowed the state government to fill up the remaining posts of assistant teachers by taking resort to the present selection process.
It had asked the state government to explain through a chart detailing the vacancies and the chronology of events in the process which was undertaken for the appointments.
The bench had asked the UP government to submit the details as how many 'shiksha mitras' are presently working in the state and how many of them appeared in the instant selection process.
It had sought to know how many 'shiksha mitras' secured more than 45 per cent marks in General Category or more than 40 per cent marks in reserved category; and the roll numbers of 'shiksha mitras' who have secured more than 45 per cent or 40 per cent marks.
The top court had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to explain as to why it changed the earlier criteria of 45 per cent cut-off marks for the general category and 40 per cent for the reserved category.
Several petitions, including those by individuals and Uttar Pradesh Prathmik Shiksha Mitra Association, have been filed challenging the May 6 decision of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.
The high court's final verdict of May 6 this year had paved the way for completing the process for appointment of 69,000 assistant basic teachers in Uttar Pradesh. It had directed the state government to complete the process of appointment within the next three months.
The process is almost already complete on the strength of the interim directions of the division bench issued on May 29, last year and only result is to be declared finally.
The division bench has set aside the single bench order that had quashed the government order by which it had fixed the criteria of 65 per cent qualifying marks for general category candidates and 60 percent for reserved category candidates for appointment as basic teacher.
The single bench had said that the minimum cut-off marks would be 45 per cent for general and 40 per cent for reserved candidates.
On July 25, 2017, the top court had asked the state government to cancel the recruitment of 1,37, 517 teachers on the post of TET Assistant Teacher but gave them the benefit of experience in two recruitment process.
Six months later, on January 17, 2018, the government had issued the order for the written examination for the assistant teachers' posts for the first time to hire 69,000 teachers.