Calcutta, Sept. 6: Calcutta High Court today passed an interim order directing the state government to pay salaries due to the 5,000-odd contract teachers in higher-secondary schools in the state by October 10.
Justice Debasish Kargupta passed the order following a petition by members of the West Bengal Higher Secondary Contract Teachers’ Association, which told the court that the government had stopped paying their salaries since May last year.
“The state government will have to take initiatives so that the contract teachers get their due salaries by October 10 this year,” Justice Kargupta’s order said.
Contract teachers are commonly known as guest teachers.
In the 2002-2003 academic session, the government decided that Classes XI and XII would no longer be allowed in colleges.
Thereafter, the government raised the status of many secondary schools to higher secondary level.
Since there was acute financial crunch at that time, the government decided to recruit guest teachers in higher schools.
“It was initially decided that the contract teachers would take 10 classes a week and get a remuneration of Rs 3,000 per month,” advocate Subrata Mukhopadhyay, the lawyer appearing for some of the petitioners explained.
“Since the contract teachers were taking classes like general teachers, the previous state government had increased the amount to Rs 5,100 in case of graduate teachers and Rs 8,100 for the teachers having post graduation degrees,” he said.
“But suddenly, the present government from May last year stopped paying their salaries. My clients had challenged the government’s action. Moreover they want the status of general teachers,” the lawyer for the petitioners said.
Appearing for the state, advocate P. Roy, however, declined to accept that salaries of the contract teachers had been stopped.
“Salaries of some of the contract teachers had not been disbursed yet. They will get their salaries in due time,” Roy said.
But the association in its petition claimed that none of the contract teachers were getting their salaries.
“I have not seen the court order. But, we will find out why the salaries of guest teachers have not been released,” said a senior official of the education department.
Not all teachers teaching in higher secondary schools are hired on a contract basis. Most of them are recruited through the school service commission.