Supreme Court: Upholding the Allahabad High Court decision quashing the Uttar Pradesh Government’s order regularizing the Shiksha Mitras, the bench of A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit, JJ said that the Shiksha Mitras cannot be regularized as teachers as the appointment of Shiksha Mitras was not only contractual, it was not as per qualification prescribed for a teacher nor on designation of teacher nor in pay scale of teachers.

Noticing that the Shiksha Mitras were never appointed as teachers as per applicable qualifications and are not covered by relaxation order under Section 23(2) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, they could not be appointed as teachers in breach of Section 23(1) of the said Act, the Court said that regularisation can only be of a mere irregularity and that the State is not competent to relax the qualifications.

However, in order to strike a balance between the claims of 1.78 Lakhs persons to be regularized in violation of law and the duty to uphold the rule of law and also to have regard to the right of children in the age of 6 to 14 years to receive quality education from duly qualified teachers, the Court said that It may be permissible to give some weightage to the experience of Shiksha Mitras or some age relaxation may be possible, but mandatory qualifications cannot be dispensed with.

It was held that the Shiksha Mitras should be given opportunity to be considered for recruitment if they have acquired or they now acquire the requisite qualification in terms of advertisements for recruitment for next two consecutive recruitments. They may also be given suitable age relaxation and some weightage for their experience as may be decided by the concerned authority. Stating that consideration for career of 1.78 lac Shiksha Mitras, over and above their legal right, cannot be at the cost of fundamental right of children to free quality education by duly qualified teachers in terms of legislative mandate, the bench said that even if for a stop gap arrangement teaching may be by unqualified teachers, qualified teachers have to be ultimately appointed.

Untrained Shiksha Mitras were appointed in the State of Uttar Pradesh under the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education (Teachers) Service (Nineteenth Amendment) Rules 2014. Terms of appointment for these Shiksha Mitras were relaxed and they appointed for imparting primary education without appearing for Teachers Eligibility Test. [State of U.P. v. Anand Kumar Yadav, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 792, decided on 25.07.2017]

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