SC verdict ‘setback to aggrieved teachers’

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday disposed of the case filed by more than 5,000 aggrieved Block Grant teachers who had approached the apex court seeking fulfilment of their pending demands from the Orissa government.
The case came up for its final hearing Tuesday before a two-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar. The court, while disposing of the case said that those who are ready to avail the benefits as envisaged by the state government are free to accept that and those who still feel aggrieved have the liberty to approach competent judicial authority in the state.
As per the assurance given by the state government to the SC earlier regarding their plan to give relief to the alleged aggrieved teachers, the state Education Department had October 22 issued a gazette notification explaining teachers’ payment based on their set criteria.
Many of the petitioners have expressed willingness to accept the notification of the state government over their planned payment methods while many who are reported to have long alleged arrears are reported to be unhappy with the notification and expressed apprehensions.
The state counsel in the case, Advocate Sibo Sankar Mishra, said that as per the court directive those who are ready to accept the proposal of the state government can submit an affidavit and can avail the benefits of the Orissa government notification while others can approach the competent judicial authority.
Counsel for some of the aggrieved teachers, Advocate Kedar Nath Tripathy, told Orissa POST, “This is a setback to the aggrieved teachers who were not ready to accept the state government proposal. However, they are now having the option as per the SC order to approach the Orissa High Court and raise the issue there against the state government proposal. Most of these pleas are from teachers who have pending arrears, in many from as long as 1994.”
The expression ‘competent judicial authority of the state’ is still unclear as the state counsel said it would be the Education Tribunal while Tripathy claimed that it should be the Orissa HC. The name of the precise authority under question is likely to be clear after the written order of the Supreme Court comes. It is expected to be ready by Wednesday for public.

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