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Dispute over TET legality

Cuttack, Nov. 28: The dispute over the legality of introduction of Teachers’ Eligibility Test for sikshya sahayaks has returned to Orissa High Court here after filing of a writ appeal against order of a single-judge bench permitting the government to conduct it.

On August 8, the high court had permitted the state government to conduct the Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) for appointment of teachers to primary and upper-primary schools on the condition that the government first completed the process of engagement of the sikshya sahayaks.

Adjudicating on petitions challenging introduction of the TET for the sikshya sahayaks, the single-judge bench of Justice Sanju Panda had, however, clarified that the candidates after being engaged as sikshya sahayaks would have to clear the TET.

The order said the TET qualifying process for them should be completed by the end of January 2013.

But Bhujendra Prasad Mallick and two other Bhadrak-based applicants for the position of sikshya sahayaks filed the writ appeal after the state government issued a notification to conduct the Odisha Teachers’ Eligibility Test (OTET) on December 2.

The division bench of Chief Justice V. Gopal Gowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra, before which the writ appeal came up yesterday, postponed the matter to Thursday, after the petitioners appeared in person because of the ongoing cease work by lawyers.

The petitioners have challenged the order of the single-judge bench on the ground that it made clearing the TET mandatory for sikshya sahayaks even as the exam was not included as one of the eligibility criteria when the advertisements were issued last year inviting applications for direct recruitment of sikshya sahayaks.

The petition further sought an interim stay order on conducting of OTET on December 2, as the government had scheduled it before completing the process of engaging sikshya sahayaks in Balasore, Bhadrak, Gajapati districts, in violation of the August 8 high court order.

The government had published a district-wise advertisement in December 2011 to appoint sikshya sahayaks, a category of primary teachers whose jobs become regular in six years on the basis of career evaluation.

In the process, the districts had prepared merit lists, including a total of 17,942 candidates for the post of sikshya sahayaks.