SC upholds UP’s decision to raise cut-off marks for Shiksha Mitras - The Daily Guardian
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SC upholds UP’s decision to raise cut-off marks for Shiksha Mitras

Ashish Sinha

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to increase cut-off marks for the 2019 recruitment of 69,000 assistant teachers to 65 and 60 for the general and reserved categories, respectively, even on Shiksha Mitras.

The apex court dismissed the appeal filed by Ram Sharan Maurya and others against the Allahabad High Court order, which cleared the path of recruitment of assistant teachers in Uttar Pradesh Board of Basic Education schools.

The SC also gave the green signal to the UP government to fill the 37,000 Shiksha Mitra vacancies in terms of the results of the recruitment exam announced in May 2020.

The court, however, held that aggrieved Shiksha Mitras would be given another opportunity by allowing them to compete in the next recruitment examination, which in turn means that even those Shikha Mitras who did not appear this time can qualify the TET exam and appear in the next selection process.

Speaking to The Daily Guardian, Rakesh Mishra, standing counsel for the UP Board of Basic Education, said, “This judgment is in consonance with Anand Kumar Yadav’s judgement, passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, wherein it was held that regularisation of contractual Shiksha Mitras as assistant teachers is violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution and Shiksha Mitras have to compete in open recruitment process, along with other candidates for being appointed as assistant teachers.”

“In the Anand Kumar Yadav case, the top court had emphasised that in all cases regarding the appointment of teachers, the rights of children as guaranteed under Article 21A of the Constitution, is paramount and merit cannot be compromised. The present judgment has kept intact this valuable right of children to have meritorious and qualified teachers,” he added.

“The present judgement is also a great relief to such Shiksha Mitras who have not yet qualified TET, as they have been granted one more opportunity to participate in the next recruitment process,” he said further.

Petitioners before the top court contended that the fixing of high qualifying marks is arbitrary as opposed to the earlier benchmark of 45 marks and 40 percent, which was fixed for Assistant Teachers Recruitment Examination, 2018.

Petitioners claimed that they cannot be discriminated from those Shiksha Mitras who had appeared in the last selection process for 68,500 posts, wherein the cut off was 40/45 percent against the present high cut-offs to the tune of 65 marks and 60 percent marks.

The Supreme Court’s order, dated 25 July 2017, in the Anand Kumar Yadav case had accorded the benefit of age relaxation and weightage to be given to Shiksha 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.

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SC to hear petitions by women Army officers over permanent commission

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear a batch of petitions on a plea by women officers in the Indian Army who had approached the Apex Court over non-implementation of its order to grant them a permanent commission.
The petitions demand direction that contempt proceedings be initiated against those who had allegedly failed in their duty to comply with the apex court’s earlier judgement.
The top court earlier ordered that the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Indian Army in service, irrespective of their years of service. It also ordered that after the judgement of Delhi High Court, Centre should grant permanent commission to women officers.
Last year, the SC had ordered the Central government to grant Permanent Commission (PC) to them in the Army’s non-combat support units on par with their male counterparts.
A bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Dr D Y Chandrahud, and also comprising Justice M R Shah, earlier fixed the matter for a final hearing to February 24.
One such petition was filed by one woman officer, through her lawyer, Chitrangda Rastravara and Advocate on Record (AOR) Archana Pathak Dave, before the Supreme Court seeking its immediate direction to implement its earlier order.
The Army, however, claimed that out of 615 women officers, there are 422 who are eligible and found fit for PC in the Army. But in reality, only 277 out of 422 have been granted PC and the remaining number i.e. 145 are those officers who are either non-optees or whose result is withheld due to medical and administrative reasons, 193 officers have been denied PC, Chitrangda said.
According to her petition, this figure of 422 is a figure only for good optics and does not truly portray the actual number. Thus, finding those officers who are non-optees fit for PC and denying the same to optees smacks of gross arbitrariness. (ANI)

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ED violating model code of conduct by summoning KIIFB officials: Kerala CM

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accused Enforcement Directorate (ED) of summoning Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) officials and said it is violating the Model Code of Conduct.
In a letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner, the Chief Minister said that the ED summoned KIIFB officials as per the political interests of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Hence, it is violating the Model Code of Conduct.
“The EC should take action against the investigating agency for violating the code of conduct,” the Chief Minister said.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark on February 28 during a BJP Yatra is evidence of the political use of investigative agencies, the letter read.
Recently, Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB.
While Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac yesterday said that there was no violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in an alleged case of external borrowings of KIIFB through Masala Bonds.
“There is absolutely no violation of FEMA as we have received No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said Thomas Isaac while speaking to ANI.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case against KIIFB for external borrowings through Masala Bonds without the permission of the union government.
Yesterday, ED sent a notice to KM Abraham, CEO of KIIFB and asked him to appear before its Kochi office on March 5. It also sent a notice to Deputy Managing Director Vikramjit Singh and asked him to appear before it on March 4.
KIIFB was constituted by the state government as a corporate body. In November 2020, it had initiated an investigation into the Masala bonds of the KIIFB, as per the sources.
Recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB. (ANI)

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Two new flag officers assume charge at Southern Naval Command

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Rear Admiral Antony George assumed charge as the new Chief of Staff of the Southern Naval Command and Rear Admiral Rajesh Dhankhar as the Chief Staff Officer (Training) of the SNC.

According to a defence release, both Flag Officers are alumni of the Indian Naval Academy and were commissioned into the Indian Navy on July 1, 1987 and July 1 1990 respectively.
Rear Admiral George is an “Anti Submarine Warfare” (ASW) specialist, who has served onboard frontline ASW ships and commanded the Missile Corvette INS Khanjar, as well as the Guided Missile Frigate INS Tarkash.
As a Flag Officer, he served as the first Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Staff Requirements) at Naval Headquarters after which he took over as the Chief Staff Officer (Training), SNC on February, 2020.
“Rear Admiral Rajesh Dhankhar is a specialist in Navigation and Direction and has served on frontline warships as Navigating Officer and Operations Officer. Rear Admiral George is a recipient of the Nao Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal,” said the release.
Rear Admiral Dhankhar is a recipient of Nau Sena Medal (Gallantry) for undertaking non-combatant evacuation of Indian and foreign personnel from Yemen as part of Operation Rahat in April 2015, it added. (ANI)

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No violation of Foreign Exchange Act at KIIFB, says Kerala Finance Minister

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac on Wednesday said that there was no violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in alleged case of external borrowings of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) through Masala Bonds.
“There is absolutely no violation of FEMA as we have received No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said Thomas Isaac while speaking to ANI.
The Finance Minister further said: “There is a guideline that authorizes any body corporate to seek their permission to borrow through Masala bonds. KIIFB is body corporate.”
Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case against KIIFB for external borrowings through Masala Bonds without the permission of the union government.
Yesterday, ED sent a notice to KM Abraham, CEO of KIIFB and asked him to appear before its Kochi office on March 5. It also sent a notice to Deputy Managing Director Vikramjit Singh and asked him to appear before it on March 4.
KIIFB was constituted by the state government as a corporate body. In November 2020, it had initiated an investigation into the Masala bonds of the KIIFB, as per the sources.
Recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB. (ANI)

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Shimlipal Sanctuary fire brought under control, CM Patnaik asks officials to take preventive steps

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Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 4 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday held a review meeting with senior government officials and instructed them to take preventive measures after a fire raged in the Shimlipal Wildlife Sanctuary (STR) for days and has now been controlled.
Directing senior officials to take immediate preventive action Chief Minister said in a statement that “Shimlipal is not only a treasure trove of Odisha or India but also an invaluable asset of the whole world.
Informing the Chief Minister, Additional Chief Secretary Department of Forests and Environment, Dr Mona Sharma said that the blaze has been bought under control.
“No casualties were reported. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been issued to control the fire and no major trees have been damaged,” Sharma said, adding that the PCCF Wildlife is monitoring the situation and taking preventive steps at the spot.
Earlier on Tuesday Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted, “Distressed to learn about the forest fires raging in Simlipal Tiger Reserve from social media platforms. Request the urgent attention of Union Minister for Environment & Forest, Prakash Javadekar and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on this alarming situation at one of the most important biosphere reserves of the country.”
Later Union Minister Prakash Javadekar informed through a tweet that “he has ordered officers to take immediate action.” (ANI)

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Forest Department rescues leopard hit by moving vehicle in Nashik

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Nashik (Maharashtra) [India], March 4 (ANI): A leopard was hit by an unidentified moving vehicle when it was crossing a road in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, the forest department said on Wednesday.
However, the animal has rescued by the forest department.
“The leopard was rescued by our team and the treatment of the animal is underway. Though it is in a critical condition, we are trying our level best for its recovery,” said the Deputy Conservator of Forest.
Earlier in February, a leopard died after being hit by an unidentified moving vehicle on Manor highway in Palghar district. The carcass was handed over to the forest department.

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