ReT teachers get court breather

Srinagar: Five years of service rendered by Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers before being regularised will be factored in when their seniority and pensionary benefits will be evaluated, the high court ruled on Saturday.
By this ruling, the court upheld the state government’s decision, taken in June last year, that said the five-year pre-regularisation period in the services of ReT teachers will be counted for the purpose of fixing their seniority, and pensionary and other retirement benefits.
According to the government order, after regularization, the services of ReT teachers shall also be transferable within the districts they hail from.
A single bench of justice Hasnain Massodi said the petitioners’ plea that ReT teachers seniority cannot be counted from the day they are recruited because they are not members of the government service as per state service rules “was devoid of substance”.
“An ReT teacher on regularisation becomes a member of the service and benefits available under the impugned order (issued on June 25 last year) becomes available to him only when he becomes member of the service,” the court said.
An ReT teacher who is not regularised for some reason would not get the benefit of the last year’s order, the court said. The court also observed that
the government order does not give retrospective promotion to the ReTs and they can’t bypass general line teachers in promotions.
Outgoing chief minister Omar Abdullah had on June 19 last year chaired a Cabinet meeting where it was decided to give benefit to thousands of ReT teachers. It was a populist measure aimed at improving the government’s image after National Conference and Congress faced a rout in the Parliamentary elections.
In its previous stint, the National Conference-Cong coalition launched the ReT scheme to promote a decentralised management of elementary education with community participation and involvement.
There are about 30,000 ReT teachers in the state, according to an organisation claiming to represent them.
On satisfactory completion of five years as ReT on a meager honorarium, a candidate is eligible for appointment as a general line teacher in the education department.
If a teacher does not fulfill age criterion at the time of consideration for formal appointment, his future employment would be on contractual basis.