Teachers’ recruitment: No headway on govt plea to lift stay, next hearing on May 31
The Patna High Court on Friday scheduled for Monday the next hearing on a petition seeking 4% quota for the physically challenged persons, including visually impaired, in the recruitment of teachers in the schools of Bihar.
The court had earlier stayed the recruitment till further orders and the matter came for early hearing on Friday after a special mention by advocate genera (AG) Lalit Kishore on the request of education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary that the government would guarantee adherence to the reservation roster in letter and spirit.
The division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sanjay Kumar heard both the AG as well as the counsel for the petitioners, the National Federation of the Blind (Bihar branch).
The AG said the panel for recruitment was ready and the court nod was awaited to publish it. “The government is ready to earmark 4% quota for the physically challenged, including the visually impaired. The government will also accept the second option of keeping 4% seats vacant till the final disposal of the case and it be allowed to carry on with the remaining 96% recruitment, if the court permits,” he said.
However, the counsel for the petitioners countered it, saying many applicants had not been able to apply and so they be given fresh opportunity to apply. Besides, the counsel wanted details of the number of vacancies, steps taken to fill up the backlog and reason for non-implementation of reservation provisions for them.
The petitioners have also been contending, citing an apex court order, that the state has not taken any action for identifying the vacancies from the year 1996 onwards or towards filling up the backlog thereof, as is mandated by provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 as also the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
In 2019, the HC had sought personal affidavit from the chief secretary, indicating the extent of the vacancies, the backlog thereof, as a result of inaction on the part of the authorities, as also the steps taken for filling up the same and, more so, specific in terms of 1995 Act as also the 2016 Act and the reasons for inaction on the part of the state.
Bihar has to appoint around 1.25 lakh primary and secondary school teachers, but the court stay has come in the way. The education minister had earlier said that the government was ready to go ahead with the new recruitment process for teachers fully enforcing the reservation roster formula if the court so allowed.
With the tenure of the Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) ending mid-June and some interim measures likely to be put in place till fresh elections are held, the legal wrangle could further delay the recruitment process.