After terminating contractual teachers, Odisha govt offers soothing balm

Bhubaneswar: In an apparent move to keep the terminated contractual teachers’ wrath at bay, the Odisha government today filed a miscase before the High Court urging it to reinstate them till alternative arrangements are made.

It said that the teachers should be allowed to continue in their respective jobs as the ensuing examinations are most likely to be affected due to teachers’ protests over the cancellation of their appointments.

The move followed after agitating teachers had a face-off yesterday with police while trying to lay siege to the residence of chief minister Naveen Patnaik here demanding withdrawal of its decision to scrap their June appointments.

More embarrassingly, the Orissa High Court also came down heavily on the State government yesterday for its “evil design” in shifting the blame to the HC over termination of services of nearly 4,000 contract teachers.

Rejecting the report filed by the secretary to School and Mass Education Department Ranjana Chopra, the HC asked her to submit a fresh affidavit by Friday showing cause as to why contempt of court proceedings will not be initiated against her and posted the matter to be heard again on December 1.

“We never asked you (government) to terminate the services of these teachers. You appointed them in violation of the Court s order and in order to escape from the contempt of court charges, you terminated their services saying you have done it as per the Court s orders,” a division bench of Justices Kumari Sanju Panda and Dr D P Choudhury said rejecting the government s contentions.

The Mass Education Secretary in the third paragraph of her compliance report had mentioned “…as per the Honourable High Court’s direction, the services of contract teachers appointed after June 11, 2015 have been terminated.”

The HC took strong exception to this stand of the government saying that the Court had at no point of time directed the government to terminate the services of the teachers appointed in violation of court s order.

Petitioner Seemanchal Sahu had moved the HC in a civil contempt of court case making Ranjana Chopra a respondent stating that despite the High Court slapping a stay on recruitment of contract teachers on June 11 this year, the state government went ahead in appointing the contract teachers.

Notably, the State government had published advertisements in 2014 for recruitment of 5,364 contractual teachers challenging which several petitions were filed in Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) alleging anomalies in the eligibility criteria related to age, educational qualification and reservation.

Later, the Odisha High Court stayed the order of Tribunal on June 11, 2015 over the recruitment. Despite the stay, the government appointed the teachers on contractual basis. Contempt of court petitions were filed in the High Court acting on which the court served show-cause notices on School and Mass Education Department.

Subsequently, the government thorough its Advocate General informed the court that it will cancel the appointments.