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SC notice to UP govt on plea to reduce cut-off marks for primary teachers

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3:43 am IST

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The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government and Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board on a batch of petitions against an Allahabad High Court ruling which upheld the state government’s decision to keep higher cut-off marks for recruitment of 69,000 assistant teachers for state primary schools. The Uttar Pradesh government will have to respond by means of a chart showing vacancies of Shiksha Mitras.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter on 14 July. Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that rules and laws could be fixed before the examination, not after it. He contended that the eligibility criteria should remain the same, referring to a High Court order by a single-judge bench that one cannot set a minimum bar of marks for an examination, which was later reversed by a division bench.

The Supreme Court told the petitioner: “Your clients didn’t even score the required marks.” Senior Advocate Paramjit Patwalia, also appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the assistant teacher exam was conducted after the SC judgement in the Shiksha Mitras case, but even B.Ed qualified candidates took the examination to conveniently hitch-hike at the expense of Shiksha Mitras. The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by Ram Sharan Maurya and others, contesting the High Court order which cleared the path of recruitment of assistant teachers in Uttar Basic Education Council schools.

Petitions before the top court contend that fixing of high-qualifying marks is arbitrary as opposed to the earlier benchmark of 45 marks and 40%, which were fixed for Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2018. Petitioners claim objective of low teacher-student ratio will be defeated due to huge vacancies arising out of high cut-offs to the tune of 65 marks and 60% marks. The Supreme Court’s 25 July 2017 order in the Anand Kumar Yadav case had accorded the benefit of age relaxation and weightage to be given to Shikha Mitras.

The same has been cited by petitioners, claiming that qualifying marks once fixed as 40 and 45 in ATRE 2018 can’t be arbitrarily increased to 60 and 65. Petitioners fear immense hardship if the apex court doesn’t intervene, since the present examination is their last attempt as per earlier court orders, and they will be rendered jobless if they fail to qualify this time.

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