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In January 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government had fixed the qualifying marks for the Assistant Teacher Recruitment Examination 2019 at 65 and 60 for the General and Reserved categories respectively.
The Supreme Court today reserved its judgment in the plea challenging the decision of the Allahabad High Court pertaining to the recruitment of 69,000 assistant teachers (Shiksha Mitras) in 2019.
After a detailed hearing over two days, the Bench of Justices UU Lalit, and MM Shantanagoudar, reserved its verdict in the petition challenging the High Court's decision to uphold higher cut-off marks for recruitments of Shiksha Mitras.
The core issue was the challenge by Shiksha Mitras to the Uttar Pradesh government's order of January 7, 2019, by which the qualifying marks for the Assistant Teacher Recruitment Examination 2019 were fixed at 65 and 60 for the General and Reserved categories respectively.
This notification of increased cut-off marks was issued a day after the exam was held.
The Allahabad High Court had confirmed the state government’s decision to keep higher cut-off marks for the recruitment of 69,000 teachers in primary schools of the state. After that, the path of recruitment of assistant teachers in the Basic Education Council schools in the state was cleared.
The cut-off was due to a dispute related to marks. In this case, the Allahabad High Court had justified the decision of the state government to increase the cut-off.
The petitioners contended that the fixation of qualifying marks at 65 and 60 was arbitrary, and should have been fixed at 45 and 40. One of the main grounds argued was that the qualifying marks for the Assistant Teacher Recruitment Exam in the previous year were 40 to 45. Moreover, these qualifying marks were decided before the conduct of exams and not post the exams, as was done in 2019.
It was argued before the two-judge Bench that as per the Anand Yadav judgment, Shiksha Mitras were entitled to be given two consecutive opportunities of recruitment as assistant teachers and were also entitled to weightage for experience at the time of final selection.
Appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate PS Patwalia submitted that the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) qualified Shiksha Mitras constituted a separate homogeneous class.
Among others, the petitioners were represented by Advocate RK Singh and the State of Uttar Pradesh was represented by ASG Aishwarya Bhati.