The Centre today supported Bihar government’s stand in opposing ‘equal pay for equal work’ for contractual teachers in the state, appointed under a 2006 law, saying they were not equal to those appointed before the law was enacted. The Centre, in its affidavit filed before a bench of Justices A M Sapre and U U Lalit, said, “the state government has tried to create a balance between the larger public interest and the claim of pay parity between the previous state government teachers and Panchayat teachers”.
It contended that “there cannot be a claim of parity between a dying cadre and a permanent alive cadre when the state has taken a conscious decision to adopt new service condition rules for newly-appointed panchayati raj teachers.” It said that pursuant to apex court’s directions on January 29, an expert committee of three chief secretary rank officers was constituted to examine the feasibility of grant of improved pay package to the contractual teachers. It had proposed about 20 per cent hike in their existing pay structures subject to their clearing a special exam.
However, the affidavit said it would have serious financial ramification for the state and the country and identical claims will be made in other states and UTs where the teachers were being recruited through different modes and salary structures. The contractual teachers in Bihar were appointed on fixed salary under the 2006 rules called the ‘Niyojit Shikshak Niyukti Niyamawali’.
The apex court had on March 16 directed the Centre and the state government to chalk out a joint plan for bearing expenses so that contractual teachers in the state get equal pay for equal work as per the Patna high court’s judgement. The high court had on October 31 last year, had ruled that contractual teachers were eligible to get equal pay for equal work while declaring state’s 2006 rules unconstitutional under Article 14 of the Constitution.
The high court had pulled up the state government saying if peons in Bihar schools would draw salary more than the contractual teachers even after 20 per cent increment to them, better shut the schools. Bihar Secondary Teachers’ Struggle Committee and Bihar Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh, along with nine other individual petitioners, had moved the high court on the issue. The state government had moved the apex court against the HC judgement.