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LF bid to stay teacher order

Agartala, May 19: The Left Front government in Tripura, smarting under a high court order dismissing 10,323 teachers, is contemplating taking a legislative path to neutralise the adverse effect of the order passed by the division bench on May 7.

The law department of the state government is preparing to file an appeal in the Supreme Court for a stay on the order.

A team comprising law secretary Data Mohan Jamatya, advocate-general Bijan Das, deputy secretary of law S. Das and director of school education P.K. Chakraborty will leave for Delhi tomorrow to brief the team of advocates who will represent the state government in the Supreme Court.

The appeal will be filed soon, seeking a stay on the high court order dismissing the services of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate teachers after December 31.

“We have already sent the papers and documents to the state government’s standing counsellor Gopal Singh, with instructions to have a leading advocate to fight the case in the Supreme Court. We will go and hold discussions with him citing news points in the state government’s favour,” said a high official of the state’s law department.

He said there are several crucial points in favour of the state government, which he would not disclose before filing of the appeal. He said filing an appeal in the apex court was unavoidable.

“In case we go for the legislative path before obtaining a stay from the apex court, the high court is empowered to take up the case afresh suo moto and declare the bill or act that is proposed to be passed as ultra vires (violative of) the Constitution,” the official said.

After obtaining a stay, the state government is planning to consult legal experts. “What is planned is a new bill or act that will protect the jobs already given on the basis of the employment policy from judicial invalidation. This is something like a right to protection of jobs and services that will protect jobs and neutralise invalidation on grounds of procedural irregularity after a period of three or six months service by the appointed persons,” said the official.

He said this is the most effective course left open by the high court order to protect the 10,323 teachers.

“Rajiv Gandhi had passed a new law in Parliament to neutralise the Supreme Court order in the Shah Banu case granting alimony to divorced Muslim women in 1984,” said the official.

He said the majority of 10,323 teachers had already put in more than three years of service since 2010.

“They mostly belong to the poor and needy families and have reasonable merit. The matter was seen by the high court in a different way which we respect.But how can the state government take away the jobs of so many people in a poor, special category state with 40 per cent of the population living below the poverty line and a longstanding insurgency problem?” the official asked.

He added that the state government was looking for an appropriate legal and constitutional route to protect the teachers.