“However, engagement of such large number of Guest Teachers cannot be a rule and the State Government will be well advised to fill the posts of teachers in the schools in a phased manner in the years to come.”
While considering plea of ‘guest teachers’, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that right of education under the Right to Education Act is not to protect the teachers, but to grant education to the students.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla was considering a batch of writ petitions filed by guest teachers who were aggrieved with the shifting policy of the government where such guest teachers are being replaced by another set of guest teachers.
Rejecting their contentions against the state policy, the bench observed that no direction can be issued that the guest teachers, who are not meritorious enough, should be engaged for teaching the students of government schools.
“We have to balance the right of teachers such as the petitioners and the students who are taught by the teachers engaged as Guest Teachers. The right of education under the Right to Education Act is not to protect the teachers but to grant education to the students. The primary object is that the child should study. If he is to study, he is entitled to the best possible teacher to teach him. Therefore, the candidates, who are not able to secure appointment on the basis of comparative merit out of over 2,00,000 aspirants, cannot claim any right to continue as Guest Teachers. Therefore, if 25% of Guest Teachers are not able to seek appointment despite there being transparent, non-discriminatory criteria framed by the State Government, it cannot be said that the action of the State Government is not justified,” the court said.
Rejecting their contentions against ‘shifting policy’, the bench said: “The argument that the Guest Teachers are being shifted from one school to another school again does not warrant any consideration. Each Guest Teacher has been given option to choose 20 schools and also to see his merit position in each school. The choice of school cannot be said to affect any right of the petitioners. The school-wise merit is prepared on the basis of score card generated on the basis of qualifications of the candidates. The merit is based upon objective criteria excluding any subjectivity. There is no manual intervention to prepare score card which is based upon the eligibility qualification of the teachers. Therefore, if the petitioners are not meritorious to find merit in the school in which they were teaching, is not a ground to nullify the entire process of engaging almost 70,000 Guest Teachers.”
There should not be any adhocism in engaging the teachers
The court, however, observed that, the policy of replacement of guest teachers with another set of guest teachers is neither proper nor justified as the guest teachers are engaged to meet out the emergent situation and that, it cannot be a rule that the guest teachers should continue year after year. Opining that there should not be any adhocism in engaging the teachers for teaching students in the schools of the state, the bench issued following directives: