Bill to regularise 15,000 guest teachers in Delhi passed

New Delhi, Oct 5 :  The Delhi assembly on Wednesday passed a bill to make about 15,000 guest teachers employed in government schools permanent amid opposition disapproval.

The bill for regularisation of services of guest teachers and teachers engaged under the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ was introduced in the assembly by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Bill, which was cleared by the Cabinet last week, will now be sent to Lt Governor Anil Baijal for approval where it is expected to face resistance.

On Tuesday, Baijal had said that the bill was “beyond the legislative competence” of the assembly and asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to reconsider its introduction in the house.

Baijal said the matter is related to ‘services’. Quoting a Delhi High Court order, he had said that the Delhi government had no executive powers in matters related to services.

Baijal said that ‘services’ is a matter in respect of which the Lt Governor is required to act in his discretion.

On Wednesday, Sisodia said in the house that matter of making guest teachers permanent falls under the Delhi government’s ambit and not under services.

“It’s disrespect to teachers and education (to say it’s related to services). If 150 Kashmiri migrant teachers can be made permanent, why not 15,000 guest teachers?” Sisodia asked while referring to Kashmiri teachers made permanent by a Cabinet decision about two months back.

“The Prime Minister had taken the decision of demonetisation in a Cabinet meeting. We’re learning from the Prime Minister,” he said.

When the four Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs, who are the only opposition, objected and said that due procedures were not followed, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that they can together effect amendments to the bill and extend the assembly session into the night to get the bill passed.

Kejriwal alleged that the government officers did not listen to them and acted on Lt Governor’s instructions.

“You do politics by hiding behind officers. If you’re men, come face to face and do politics,” Kejriwal said.

The BJP MLAs then walked out of the assembly, following which the bill was passed.

BJP MLA Majinder Singh Sirsa said the bill cannot be implemented as the government has not followed due procedures.

He said the Delhi government was trying to cheat the guest teachers, knowing well that the bill will be struck off at the higher level.

BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta wondered if the government wanted to regularise guest teachers, why didn’t it do thus in the past two and a half years.

“Earlier, they said in the assembly that weightage should be given to guest teachers and now they want to pass the bill to regularise them. From this it’s clear that the government has no roadmap on the issue,” Gupta said.

Later in the day, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said Kejriwal had insulted the BJP MLAs and also violated all democratic values and showed no respect for constitutional authority.

About two dozen people staged a protest outside Delhi assembly on Wednesday against the bill and demanded a competitive exam for all aspirants and no special treatment to guest teachers.

A Delhi government official told IANS that they were certain that the Lt Governor will strike down the bill.

He said the Supreme Court will hear the case on demarcation of powers in Delhi on October 10 and they’re hopeful it will settle the matter