The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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School wins teacher war with govt
- 'Lack of funds no excuse for denying education'

Calcutta, Sept. 19: The high court today rapped the government for denying teachers to a school in Malda that was told it did not have the money to pay for them.

Hearing a petition by a government-aided school in Malda seeking a directive to the government to sanction more teachers, the court said: 'It is unfortunate that the sanction for additional posts has been kept pending for as long as eight years.'

Justice Indira Bannerjee added that the court was mindful of the plight of over 600 students of Sadlichawk High School, who are 'suffering immensely'.

The Supreme Court recently observed that no one could be denied education as it was a fundamental right.

Acknowledging the submission of the school's counsel ' that the apex court had ruled education was a fundamental right ' the judge said: 'The secretary of the education department is directed to consider the entire matter with regard to sanctioning additional posts of assistant teachers and non-teaching staff by March 2006.'

The school had moved the high court in 1997 praying for an order asking the education department to sanction six additional posts of assistant teachers and two posts of class IV staff.

The school also challenged the decision of the district inspector of schools (DIS), who declined to accept their prayer to increase the strength of teachers in the institution.

'Considering the fact that the roll strength of students increases every year, the court should ask the education department to appoint more teachers,' the school management had said.

After the school submitted a prayer to sanction more posts, the DIS asked an assistant inspector of schools to assess the feasibility.

The assistant made a surprise visit on September 6, 1996, and found there were enough reasons to justify the appeal.

Even after receiving that report ' that the school did not have enough teachers for its 613 students ' the district inspector of schools declined to accept the proposal because the finance department had put an embargo on recruitment.

When the school challenged the DIS's decision, Justice Shyamal Sen on September 3, 1997, directed the education department to file an affidavit stating its stand.

'As the education department did not carry out the court's order, the matter remained pending with the court for eight years. Finally, it came up for hearing before Justice Bannerjee on August 28, 2005, ei-ght years after filing the case,' the petitioner said.

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