The demand to regularise the primary teachers recruited under Goa Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in service was rejected by the government and now the court’s verdict has ended their hopes too. Seventy eight teachers who were not regularised in the services had challenged the new recruitment carried out in 2021 but unfortunately, the court dismissed their petition. Only relief from the court is that it has directed the authorities to consider age relaxation for the teachers who apply for permanent posts. Presently the age limit for government jobs is 45. The contract-basis teachers have been working on contracts for the last 18 years and naturally, have crossed the age limit. Therefore, some of the teachers are not even eligible to apply for the new recruitment let alone be regularised in the service. This is unfair to them despite sincerely working for such a lengthy time.
The Supreme Court in one of the cases had ordered that those who had worked government jobs on contract-basis for several years cannot be regularised and that they have to go through the recruitment process like other candidates. The Apex court had also stated to take into consideration the experience of the candidates. This verdict is applicable for primary teachers as well and the High Court referring to the above judgement said that the teachers’ request to regularise them in the job cannot be fulfilled.
If the judgement was in favor of the teachers it would have put a full-stop to the huge chaos that has been going on for the last several years. Now, the government itself will have to come up with a resolution. It can be recalled that the government had introduced contract based employment services for temporary jobs but the system has proven to be troublesome. Therefore, the government needs to amend the law to systematise the operations because many other servants have faced similar problems in the past. Many years ago some were recruited for the National Malaria Eradication Programme on contract basis which later created issues.
Besides that, many people are hired in various government departments on contract or daily wage basis. Daily wage workers are given a ‘break’ after 90 days to escape from regularising them in services. This means that the employees can be regularised in the service after they have spent an eligible amount of time for the same. However, the government never implements this rule. The government a few years back had issued a circular which stated that those who have worked 240 days a year for five consecutive years are eligible to be made permanent at the job. Only a few were regularised in the service according to this circular, while many were left hanging. To escape the responsibility, the government started assigning ‘temporary status’ for those who were working on daily wage and on contracts. Some even had to approach the court to achieve the temporary status. The government’s provision of contract basis jobs is not good for those who are willing to work. In fact, it’s inappropriate if one were to be honest. This provision has been made to exploit people at lesser pay. The teachers who are recruited on contracts and lecture-basis have the same amount of workload as those who are permanent teachers and in fact, sometimes have to work way more. It is not fair to get paid less for the same amount of work. The government needs to put a stop to such exploitative measures. If the provision was a temporary solution then it should be temporary. It cannot be prolonged for 15-20 years the way the government is doing. If a person is working at one place for five straight years that means the job is of permanent and full-time nature. The government should regularise such posts and recruit people immediately. The government has received a clear direction in regards to the matter of temporary teachers and so, they should think it through. The court should present its verdict based on the existing law. The government can very well take strategic decisions to amend the law, in order to serve justice to daily wage workers and the ones working on contract basis. Or, the government should discard the contract system and hire employees on a permanent basis only to avoid such chaotic situations.