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HC dismisses PIL seeking termination of teachers who did not pass MTET

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, May 8: The High Court of Meghalaya on Wednesday dismissed a PIL that sought the quashing of the appointment of teachers who did not qualify in the Meghalaya Teachers Eligibility Test (MTET).
The PIL was filed by Sengbreezbirth N Marak.
In an order, a division bench of Chief Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice W Diengdoh said the petition was filed to quash the appointment of teachers, who do not possess the MTET qualification and to comply with the mandatory provisions of the NCTE’s notification dated 23.08.2010 and the Education Department’s notification dated 01.07.2020 in letter and spirit.
The petitioner submitted that education is important for personal and community success and that it develops human personality, thoughts and prepares people for life experiences, besides helping people learn how to think about and make a difference in the society.
The petitioner was aggrieved that students are unable to get proper education and pursue higher and technical education due to the lack of proper education standards and qualified teachers in the schools.
The petitioner highlighted that the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 was enacted with the aim to provide free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Constitution.
He said it is incumbent on the government and local authorities to ensure timely admission, attendance and completion of elementary education for children in the 6-14 age group.
“It was urged that this petition was filed to elevate the standard of education in the state and as per Section 29 of the Act, a teacher must possess minimum qualifications that are laid down by an Academic Authority duly authorized by the appropriate government vide notification,” the court said.
“If a teacher does not possess a minimum qualification, the person shall not be appointed. There is a categorical stand of the State Government that the cut-off date for appointment of teachers without MTET is 23.08.2010 and that no teacher shall be appointed without MTET thereafter,” the court added.
The court further said that by referring to paragraph 21 of the affidavit regarding qualifications obtained by the teachers, the petitioner stated that the teachers do not possess requisite qualification. He relied upon the notification dated 23.08.2010, which prescribes qualification, without which, they cannot be considered for appointment as teachers, the court said.
The respondents, including the state government, represented by the Chief Secretary, Commissioner & Secretary of Education Department, Director of School Education & Literacy, Meghalaya, and the District School Education Officer of East Garo Hills district, filed a counter affidavit stating that the writ petition is not maintainable in service matters in terms of certain judgments of the Supreme Court.
“It was further stated that the petitioner seeks to quash the appointment orders issued to the teachers and it was the stand of the respondents that the Notification mentioned by the petitioner is applicable to Classes 1 to 8 and the petitioner has not made a specific averment as to the classes to which teachers have been appointed,” the court said in the order.
The order further said, “It was also stated in the counter affidavit that as per Notification dated 01.07.2020, MTET is compulsory for the appointment of teachers to Class I to VIII and not for appointment of teachers to Class IX & X. Thus, it was argued that this petition is liable to be dismissed for bereft of details.”
After observing that the petition is bereft of particulars, the court dismissed the PIL on the ground of maintainability as it is not maintainable in service matters.
“However, it is made clear that any appointment is made contrary to the Rules/ Regulations/Notification, there is no impediment to agitate by way of PIL for issuance of a writ of Quo Warranto against such appointees,” the court said.

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