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Heads win court battle

A division bench of Calcutta High Court on Monday set aside an order passed by Justice Biswanath Somadder of the same court cancelling the appointment of teachers as heads of 44 state-aided primary schools in Calcutta because they hadn’t cleared a training programme.

The division bench said rules under the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), which make it mandatory for all teachers to clear the primary teachers training programme, did not apply to the 44 teachers who had joined the profession before 2001.

The Calcutta District Primary School Council, which recruits teachers and heads of state-aided primary schools, had prepared the panel of 44 teachers for appointment as headmasters and headmistresses in August last year.

The division bench of Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya and Justice Tapas Mukherjee directed the council to appoint the 44 teachers as headmasters and headmistresses “as early as possible”.

Teachers Nitu Saha and Antara Sanyal had moved a petition before Justice Somadder in November 2013, challenging the legality of the process the council had followed in recruiting the 44 heads.

Their counsel, senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, had brought to the court’s notice the NCTE rules. “According to NCTE rules, every teacher should obtain certificates from a Primary Teachers Training Institution (PTTI). The Calcutta Primary District Council had not followed the NCTE rules at the time of preparing the panel because the teachers whose names figured in the panel, did not have the primary teachers’ training certificate.”

He had informed the court that his clients had obtained PTTI certificates. “Based on seniority and NCTE rules, my clients are eligible for the posts,” he had said.

Justice Somadder had quashed the panel on December 23 last year.

The order prompted Bishnupada Ghosh and 43 others in the panel to move an appeal before the division bench of Justice Bhattacharya and Justice Mukherjee.

“It is a fact that according to NCTE rules 2006, only NCTE certificate holders who have scored 50 per cent and above marks in Higher Secondary or equivalent examination, would be eligible for getting jobs in primary schools. But this guideline is not mandatory for teachers who had joined schools before 2001,” the counsel for the petitioners, Ekramul Bari, told the court on Monday.

“On August 25, 2010, the NCTE had made it clear through a notification that teachers who had joined the profession before 2001 would not come under the purview of NCTE guideline,” Bari said.