No Advantage To Candidate When The Very Selection Is Illegal: SC Upholds Termination Of 8882 Teachers In Tripura [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court has affirmed the termination of 8,882 ad-hoc teachers in Tripura.
The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and Vineet Saran observed that, as their very selection and appointments were found to be illegal and invalid, no other advantage can be conferred upon the concerned candidates.
"In our view, considering the fact that the very selection and appointments were found to be illegal and invalid, no other advantage can be conferred upon the concerned candidates", the bench obseved
In 2014, the Tripura High Court had terminated the appointment of 10,323 government school teachers on the ground that the selection was contrary to the provisions of the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 and the relevant policies and that the appointments were arbitrary and illegal. It was found that the selection was irrational and illogical and that it suffered from nepotism and favouritism. In 2017, the Supreme Court modified the High Court's order, directing the state Government to complete a fresh selection process on or before December 31, 2017. The bench allowed those teachers appointed earlier to apply again, and continue till the completion of the fresh selection process(Tanmoy Nath vs State of Tripura).
8,882 ad-hoc teachers were working in the School Education Department and in terms of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the decision Tanmoy Nath vs State of Tripura, were terminated after the Academic Session 2019-2020 was over. Some of them challenged this termination before the High Court of Tripura. The High court dismissed the petitions observing that petitioners are seeking review of the judgment rendered in Tanmoy Nath (supra) which is not permissible in law, more so on the doctrine of merger.
While dismissing the appeals, the Apex Court bench noted that the legality and validity of the entire selection process and the appointments of about 10,323 teachers were gone into in detail in Tanmoy Nath case. It said:
"The findings rendered by the High Court and its conclusions were accepted by this Court while dismissing the appeals arising therefrom. Though the services of the concerned teachers were initially protected only upto 31.12.2017, accepting the plea made on behalf of the State, the concerned date was extended from time to time. It is a matter of record that the services of such candidates now stand terminated. In terms of the directions issued in Tanmoy Nath and appeal arising therefrom, the State is obliged to conduct selection process in which the concerned candidates will be entitled to participate with age relaxation. The age relaxation has now been afforded by the State in all selections till 31.03.2023, which benefit is quite adequate and proper."
The court further observed that the attempt on part of the State in offering certain alternate employment is not to degrade the teachers but some solace is being offered even in cases where the candidates do not succeed in the selections to the posts of teachers. While dismissing the appeals, the bench further said:
"The candidates, if they are otherwise competent and eligible, will certainly have every opportunity till 31.03.2023 to get selected for the posts of teachers in the State and by way of additional benefit those who are unsuccessful in such attempts may retain the alternate employment. In our view, it does not amount to any degradation."
Case name: Ajoy Debbarma and others vs. State of Tripura and othersCase no.: CIVIL APPEAL NO.2868 OF 2020Coram: Justices UU Lalit and Vineet SaranCounsel: Senior Advocates Rajeev Dhavan, Kapil Sibal, Colin Gonsalves, Jaideep Gupta, Maninder Singh