The Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday decided to move the Supreme Court with a Special Leave Petition (SLP) to challenge Allahabad High Court’s order that had declared the state government’s move to regularise nearly 1.72 lakh shiksha mitras (contractual teachers) and appoint them as assistant teachers in primary schools as illegal.
State Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan told The Indian Express: “The high court order, which was passed on Saturday, was received today. The government is studying it. The government will file the SLP soon in the Supreme Court.”
Later in the day, state Basic Education Minister Ram Govind Chaudhary in a statement appealed to shiksha mitras to show patience and assured them that the UP government will take all necessary steps in their interests.
In the judgment, a special three-judge bench — comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices Dilip Gupta and Yashwant Verma — had also quashed the amendments brought in the state education department’s rules through with the help of which shiksha mitras were being regularised.
The bench had passed the order while hearing a bunch of nearly three dozen petitions, along with the main petition filed by one Shivam Rajan and three others.
After the state government decided to assimilate shiksha mitras as assistant teachers in May 2014, a large number of petitions were filed — both at the Allahabad High Court and its Lucknow bench — by those holding BEd degrees, Basic Teaching Certificate (*BTC) and having qualified Teacher Eligibility Test (TET).
Shiksha mitras, who were supposed to have a minimum qualification of Intermediate, were appointed during the previous BSP rule through a government order (GO) in 1999. They were supposed to help out villagers in getting their children enrolled in schools and raise awareness about the need for education.
In 2012, the newly-elected Samajwadi Party government started the process to regularise shiksha mitras. In May 2014, the government amended rules, which were implemented after the introduction of the Right to Education Act, in which it was said that there is no need for shiksha mitras to qualify TET.
It then passed a GO announcing their assimilation as assistant teachers. Nearly 59,000 shikha mitras were regularised in the first phase in June, 2014 followed by another 73,000 in the second phase in June this year.