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School heads to lose post

Cuttack, Sept. 1: The Odisha government has ordered reversal of promotion granted to 854 headmasters more than a decade ago.

The school and mass education department issued the order to revert them to the post of trained graduate teachers on August 30. The high court endorsed it three-and-a-half months ago.

While issuing the order to the director of secondary education, school and mass education department commissioner-cum-secretary Usha Padhee said: “The senior-most trained graduate teacher in the high school, in terms of seven years of teaching experience after qualification, may be kept as in charge of the school by way of an interim arrangement until a regular incumbent is appointed.”

These in-charge headmasters or headmistresses would neither be entitled to the head’s scale of pay nor could claim the post of the head on the basis of this interim arrangement, the order said, while directing “to finalise the gradation list of trained graduate teachers accordingly and take steps for promotion to the post of headmasters against the vacancies”.

“No recovery would be made from those reverted teachers in respect of pay and allowances in the headmaster’s scale, which they might have already received,” the order said.

Earlier, the 854 headmasters were reverted to the posts of assistant teachers in July 2002 after the Supreme Court ruled their appointments to the post as invalid. The Odisha Board of Secondary Education Rule, which came into force on April 29, 1977, mandated that only a person with seven years of experience as trained graduate teacher could be made a headmaster.

But in January 2003, the government had again promoted these teachers to the rank of headmasters.

On January 25, 2007, the state administrative tribunal ruled the decision of the government as unlawful and suggested that it handed over the charge of high schools to senior teachers who were eligible for the post.

However, the 854 headmasters continued in the post as the high court, in an interim order on May 2, 2007, issued direction for status quo on petitions filed by some of these headmasters challenging the tribunal ruling and seeking an order not to revert them.

The high court dismissed the petitions on May 15, 2012.

While dismissing the petitions, the high court endorsed the January 25, 2007 tribunal ruling that said the senior-most trained graduate teacher in a school could hold charge of the post of headmaster by way of an interim arrangement until a regular headmaster was appointed.

However, this person could not claim the post of headmaster on the basis of this interim arrangement.