High Court maintains stay on teachers’ centralised recruitment

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Sep 2018 12:05:27


Staff Reporter,

Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has mooted a suggestion to conduct interviews of meritorious teachers who are shortlisted for appointment in aided schools after a transparent recruitment process involving representative of the Education Department as well. A division bench consisting of Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice Arun Upadhye while hearing petitions filed by school managements from Buldana and Nagpur questioning the legality of move to conduct a written qualifying test and slow process to accord nod to fill the vacant teaching posts which has affected academic work, continued its interim direction till September 27. 

As per Rule 9 (2B) of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Rules, 1981, it is prescribed that after completion of time frame mentioned in the advertisement, the School Committee should publish the merit list within five working days and select the candidates according to the merit list.

The High Court sought to know whether requirement of oral interview by the School Committee is possible to be read in the aforesaid provision and the candidates in definite ratio from the merit list so published can be treated as constituting a zone of consideration. The High Court also suggested that a School Committee constituted by the Management consisting of one Expert to be sent by the Deputy Director of Education of the concerned region to act its member can hold the interview of the candidates in order of merit to judge the suitability for appointment to the subject concerned. If the Selection Committee wants to deviate from the merit list in selecting the candidates in the zone of consideration, it shall have to record the reasons in writing to shift below in the merit list to select the candidate found suitable, the High Court suggested However, senior counsel Ram Apte appearing for the State Government stated that this aspect requires serious consideration by the State Government and sought time to take appropriate instructions and file affidavit, making its stand clear either one way or the other, so that the Court can proceed further in the matter in accordance with law.

According to petitioner they cannot proceed with recruitment and in the absence of qualified Teachers, education in their Schools is being adversely affected. The educational institutions claimed that the State Government, even today, is not equipped with machinery to conduct desired eligibility and aptitude test.  The State Government on June 23, 2017 finalised centralised recruitment process for teachers’ appointment and claimed that entire process would be available on SARAL while the details about number of vacancies, roster point, number of students available would be displayed on PAVITRA and only requisite number of teachers would be selected in centralised manner in transparent manner.

The decision itself was taken following a decision by the High Court on suo-motu PIL expressing deep concern over alleged irregularities in appointment of teaching and non teaching staff in private aided schools. The High Court had taken a view that since the salary and pension of every employee of private aided schools including teachers was paid from public exchequer, the State Government must have a decisive role in appointing teachers. Looking at the large scale irregularities and complaints of malpractices, the High Court had suggested that State must take charge of such appointments in centralised manner to curb corruption in appointments.

Devendra Fadnavis Government had responded positively and promised to frame regulations in this respect. The Education department had suggested amendments to Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools rules, 1981 and forwarded it to Law and Judiciary department in August 2015 which pointed out some shortcomings. Thereafter, a fresh draft was dispatched on September 20, 2015 and another amendment for appointment of tribal community teachers was mooted. Final draft was sent on October 23, 2015 and after some delay, the Cabinet approved it.

Petitioner-school managements claimed that there are glaring instances of non-application of mind and challenged the amendment to MEPS Rules 1981. The decision has deprived the schools from selection process of teachers. Adv Ravindra Khapre and Adv Bhanudas Kulkarni appeared for the petitioners while Senior Counsel Ram Apte and Adv Anjali Helekar represented state.

PIL seeks probe into school appointments

The High Court has also issued notice to School Education department in a PIL alleging back-dated appointment of as many as 700 teachers in various schools in brazen violation of GR dated May 2, 2012. In order to examine the validity of procedure, another Government Resolution was issued on June 20, 2014.

According to petitioner-Vijay Gupta, to resolve the issue of surplus teaching and non-teaching staff, the Education department had issued GR in 2012 and subsequent GR on June 20, 2014 in which it was made mandatory to first absorb the surplus teachers against vacant posts, but both GRs were not implemented.

Though the website co-relating available vacancies with available surplus Teachers or non-teaching staff was functioning, the Education Department had received cases in which approvals from back date are being sought to defeating GRs, the PIL alleged while seeking probe into it. The High Court has issued notice to respondents and made it returnable on September 26.