Two months after the Punjab & Haryana High Court termed the UT education department’s hiring 536 teachers in 2007 as illegal and asked the latter to draw up a fresh merit list, the department continues to sit over the verdict.
Giving a two-week deadline to the department, the judgment, dated January 31, had ruled that the five marks assigned in the descriptive test in the recruitment criteria was contrary to the conditions stipulated in the department’s advertisement for the posts published in 2007.
The verdict directed the department to draw up a fresh merit list after deducting the marks.
Moreover, while senior department officials told HT last month they might move the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s order on the basis of a recommendation given by a senior UT counsel, the department has yet to do so.
The high court’s order, it is learnt, is likely to affect several regular teachers recruited at that time, with nearly 20 serving teachers facing the risk of losing their jobs.
The number may rise to as high as 40 if the department follows the shortlisting criteria mentioned in its advertisement.
An official said the department feared that implementing the order would open a Pandora’s box and put it under further legal scrutiny over the “faulty” criteria adopted for hiring the teachers.
Meanwhile, the judgment has also kept several teachers recruited during that period on the edge. A teacher who asked not to be named said she had left her regular job in Haryana to get the appointment in Chandigarh back in 2009.
“Now if the department, after drawing up a new merit list, says I’m disqualified, where will I go? Rather than making the teachers suffer, senior officials of the department must be held responsible for tinkering with the 2007 advertisement and framing their own rules without thinking of their legal validity in 2009,” she said.
As per the 2007 advertisement, the candidates were first to be shortlisted on the basis of an objective (multiple choice) paper. Candidates clearing the first would then be judged on the basis of a subjective paper. (competency test)
Meanwhile, Arpana Mahajan, a teacher who was sacked and whose case resulted in the court judgment, has moved the high court seeking her reappointment.
According to sources, she may also file a contempt petition if the department does not comply with the court order.