ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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West Bengal : Teachers on the Street

As a result of a set of apparently unreasonable rules, thousands of primary school teachers at the end of the career lifespans are on the streets, in abject poverty.

The West Bengal government is teaching a lesson to several thou  sand primary teachers. Many of them are having to live in abject poverty, even beg for a living. Their crime: they had the guts to move the courts against a government order that those choosing to work till the age of 65 would not be eligible for the new pay-scale. The government punished them by withholding their salaries since May 1996, without citing any reason. In spite of that, those still in service have been signing attendance registers and performing all their duties. The teachers-in-charge among them are even running school administrations. Many have retired after putting in three years of unpaid service between 62 and 65 years, without getting any statutory dues, leave alone arrears.

According to ROPA 90 of the West Bengal government, school teachers were given the option of retiring at 60 and getting a new pay-scale effective from 1986, or retiring at 65 years on the old pay-scale. Several thousand primary teachers had challenged this order in court, demanding the new pay-scale while retaining 65 as the age of retirement. A single-bench order of the Calcutta High Court went in favour of the teachers. As a result they got paid on the new scale till the age of 60 years and on the old scale between 60 and 62 years, while the case was going on.

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