About 4,000 teaching and non-teaching staff working with more than 750 special schools for disabled children in Maharashtra got a major reprieve on Tuesday after the high court directed the state to maintain status quo regarding their retrenchment.
Following the recommendation of a high-power committee, the state, on July 6, decided to retrench 3,911 teaching and non-teaching staff from special schools. These employees were declared surplus after the state introduced a new staffing pattern in August 2004.
Some of the employees, led by Laxmikant Kulkarni from Beed district, challenged the decision in court.
They contended that they had put in long service in the special schools, and in many cases their families were solely relying on their income.
The petitioners’ counsels, Girish Kulkarni and Ashutosh Kulkarni pointed out that the state had decided, in 2004, to continue with the surplus staff and let their vacancies lapse on their retirement.
The lawyers said the committee had no authority to decide the fate of the surplus employees in view of the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1993.
The legislation provides for setting up of an executive committee, which is empowered to decide all the issues pertaining to disabled persons, including their education. The counsels said such a committee had not yet been set up in Maharashtra.
The court has adjourned the matter for further hearing till January 24.