The Supreme Court on Thursday extended by six months the December 31 deadline to terminate 10,323 Tripura government teachers as per its earlier order following a state government appeal, a Minister said."The Supreme Court extended the termination deadline to June 30. These teachers were set to lose jobs on December 31 after the Supreme Court's March 29 order," Education Minister Tapan Chakraborty told the media in the state capital.The Tripura government had earlier moved the apex court and urged it to extend the deadline by a year, though a bench comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit extended it only for six months.The Minister said a possible standoff and crisis vis-a-vis termination of these teachers had been temporarily averted.On March 29, the Supreme Court had upheld a Tripura High Court verdict to terminate these government teachers on the ground of certain indiscretions.In an apparent move to circumvent the Supreme Court order, the Tripura government in May announced the recruitment of 12,000 non-teaching staff in the Education Department, ostensibly to "accommodate" these teachers.According to the Minister, the Supreme Court, following a contempt petition, put a ban on October 4 on the recruitment of 12,000 non-teaching staff until the next hearing on January 16.
An unemployed youth from Tripura had filed the contempt petition, alleging that the government had violated the apex court order by trying to redesignate the posts likely to fall vacant after the sacking of the teachers and by initiating the recruitment process for 12,000 non-teaching employees."Commissions set up by the Centre have recommended upgradation of education and extra-curriculum activities. Therefore, the Tripura government had initiated the process to recruit 12,000 non-teaching employees. These 12,000 posts do not fall under the Right to Education Act purview and National Council for Teacher Education guidelines since they are not teaching posts. The state government has full authority to recruit persons for these posts," the Minister added.The 10,323 government teachers, divided into three groups, had demanded continuation of their services beyond December 31. A section of the teachers had launched intermittent agitations, including road and railway blockades, from December 7 to press for their demand.The state faces a dearth of suitable candidates to fill around 16,000 teachers' posts.Ahead of the February 2018 assembly elections, the proposed termination of these teachers and recruitment of 12,000 non-teaching staff is set to become a major political issue.