The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday asked the UP Government to file a reply affidavit in a plea alleging that primary school teachers, recruited under the Right to Education Act, were paid less than Class IV posts, i.e. peon, etc.
The Bench of Justice Pankaj Bhatia has asked the concerned authorities to file their counter affidavits within three weeks. In the interim, it is instructed that teachers shall be paid honorarium in terms of the guidelines set by the Central Government.
The order was passed during hearing of a plea against non-renewal of Petitioners' contract to continue their positions.
While the Court observed that this aspect of the matter "requires consideration", it took note of the Petitioners' submission that that the appointment of the teachers at an honorarium of Rs. 7,000/- per month clearly violates the mandate of Article 23, right against exploitation.
It was argued that Rs. 7,000/- does not even meet the "minimum standard" prescribed even for labourers and thus, keeping qualified teachers at the said amount was nothing but an exploitation by the State.
Reliance was placed on a single-bench Judgment of the High Court in Anurag & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. (2018), whereby it was held that the guidelines as prescribed by the Central Government for payment of as Rs. 17,000/- should be a "guiding factor".
In view of these submissions, the Court ordered thus:
"an interim mandamus is issued directing that the petitioners shall be permitted to continue as instructors in terms of Government Order dated 31.01.2013 till the pendency of writ petition and shall be paid their honorarium in terms of the Government Order. The question of exploitation by the State and quantum of honorarium to which the petitioners are entitled shall be considered on the next date."
So far as non-renewal of their contracts is concerned, the Court said,
"As an interim measure, as there is no provision for non-renewal of appointed persons merely because the strength has fallen below 100, the operation and effect of the order dated 27.02.2020 is stayed and an interim mandamus is issued directing that the petitioners shall be permitted to continue as instructors in terms of Government Order dated 31.01.2013 till the pendency of writ petition."
Case Title: Prabhu Shanker & Ors. v. State of UP & Ors.
Case No.: Writ A No. 6356/2020
Quorum: Justice Pankaj Bhatia
Click Here To Download Order