The guest teachers in Delhi schools are caught in a tug of war between Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the Aam Aadmi Party-led government after the former advised Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday to reconsider its decision to regularise their posts. Though the Delhi government has decided to go ahead with its decision to regularise the guest teachers (also called private teachers) despite the lieutenant governor asking it not to do so in a letter, the move is unlikely to bear any fruit as it is seen to be outside the powers of the state Assembly.
The lieutenant governor's letter to the chief minister came a day before a special session of Delhi Legislative Assembly was called to regularise the posts of 15,000 guest teachers working in various government schools in Delhi.
The Delhi Assembly session held on Wednesday passed the 'Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Bill 2017' that provides for regularisation of guest teachers, said AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj.
Regularising guest teachers was an election promise of the Aam Aadmi Party during the 2015 Assembly election which it won with a landslide victory. Its failure to regularise the guest teachers may bear significant political implication.
Towing the party line to regularise the guest teachers, AAP MLA Anil Bajpai, told Firstpost that the decision making powers in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan is well within the ambit of powers of the Delhi government.
"The lieutenant governor has said that it is not within the powers of the government to regularise the guest teachers, but the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan law has empowered us to regularise them (guest teachers). So, we are moving ahead with it,” he said.
Bharadwaj cites another reason to go ahead with the decision.
He said, "Last month, the Delhi cabinet took a decision to regularise Kashmiri migrant teachers and the lieutenant governor approved it. Why can’t it take a decision to regularize guest teachers?"
Last week, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had told the media that a bill to regularise guest teachers will be introduced in a special Assembly session on 4 October.
"Of the 17,000 guest teachers in government schools, 15,000 will be benefited by the move while the remaining 2,000, who did not meet the criteria, will continue to work as guest teachers," Sisodia had said.
He had further said that the guest teachers were appointed following a procedure and according to merit list, and that among them 15,000 teachers had passed the Central Teachers Eligibility Test.
The controversy over regularisation of guest teacher broke out after Baijal on Tuesday advised the Delhi chief minister to rethink its decision citing the reason that service is not within its periphery of powers.
"The lieutenant governor has noted that this issue is important as the subject matter of the bill relates to 'services’, and as clarified by MHA notification no SO1368(E) dated 21 May 2015, and affirmed by the honourable High Court of Delhi in its judgment dated 4 August, 2016, in WP (C) No 5888/2015 and other connected matters, the matter relating to 'services' falls beyond the legislative competence of the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi...," a press release issued by the LG office said.
Though the Delhi government has decided to move ahead with the decision despite objections from Baijal, experts say that the decision will never have any effect without the required approval of the lieutenant governor.
"They can certainly pass the bill but it will never have a legal impact as it is beyond the powers of the government. The order may get struck down by the court, even if they attempt to implement it,” said Ashok Agarwal, advocate in Delhi High Court.
The fate of the 15,000 guest teachers are likely to remain locked in this tug of war between the Delhi government and lieutenant governor despite passing of the said bill.
Suman Chopra, a guest teacher working in a Delhi school told Firstpost that regularisation of guest teachers is not a new phenomenon.
"States like Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have already regularised guest teachers. Earlier in Delhi too guest teachers were regularised during the Congress regime. Why this disparity with guest teachers in Delhi schools?” she asks.
She also said that guest teachers are paid like daily wage laborers in Delhi government schools, which has caused tremendous hardship in their families.
"Can a teacher who is paid like a daily wage laborer can do justice to his or her job?” she asks.
Updated Date: Oct 04, 2017 20:32 PM