HC clears deck for promotion of school teachers

Cuttack: In a significant ruling, High Court has cleared the deck for the State government to prepare seniority list of primary school teachers and effect promotions for deserving teachers as per the Elementary Cadre Rules which were introduced for school teachers in 1997.

A Division Bench of Justice B P Das and Justice B K Mishra quashing all previous interim orders of the High Court and State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) yesterday directed the school and mass education secretary to fix seniority of the primary school teachers who were declared government servants by strength of two government resolutions of 1989 and 1991.

Directing the department to go ahead with promotion of deserving teachers as per the seniority list, the High Court also made it clear that if any promotion has been effected in the meanwhile basing on the seniority list so prepared earlier, the same shall be treated as non-est.

The case inter alia pertains to promotion of some school teachers that had been pending ever since Elementary Cadre Rules were introduced for school teachers in 1997. While primary school teachers were declared government servants in 1989 and minor school teachers got that status in 1991, a gradation list of all teachers was prepared in 1997.

Accordingly, the government in 2009 came out with a notification to promote at least 18,000 teachers from Grade 4 to Grade 3 to fill up vacant post of headmasters in several schools. This notification was challenged by the minor school teachers in the SAT which in turn directed the government not to consider the promotional avenues of the teachers who were declared government servants in 1989.

Challenging the Tribunal order, the primary school teachers had approached the HC which in turn quashed the tribunal order and asked the government not to take any step on promotion of teachers without the leave of the court.

The state government however, promoted some teachers in 2010 even as the case was not finally disposed off in the High Court. When the promotion matter came to the notice of the HC, it took serious view of it and registered contempt of court cases against the department secretary and two other officials.

Following unconditional apology by the officials and government giving a clarification that it would not give effect to the promotions without the leave of the Court, the contempt cases against the officials were dropped.

The government however, had told the Court that promotion of teachers was highly necessary to fill up some 18,000 posts of headmasters in primary schools of the State for providing quality education in primary schools under Free and Compulsory Education Act.