Taking a serious view of misleading affidavits filed by the Punjab education department, the Punjab and Haryana high court has held education secretary Anjali Bhawra and director, public instructions (secondary schools), Kamal Kumar Garg guilty of deceiving the court and concealing material facts.
The orders came from the court of justice Rakesh Kumar Garg on Monday on a contempt of court petition filed by Sonia Verma and others, alleging that the department had not selected them but the seven candidates below them in merit were appointed Hindi schoolmasters for the 700 posts advertised in September 2009 for secondary schools.
However, the court stated that before proceeding further, the last opportunity was being granted to both officers to put up their defence, if any, by May 30.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Kapil Kakkar had informed the court that not only had the education department failed to appoint petitioners despite having more merit than the appointed candidates but also department officials were filing contradictory statements before the court to save their skin. The petitioners had filed the contempt of court petition since the department had failed to appoint them even after court's directions last year.
When the contempt petition was filed, the department admitted the mistake but submitted that it was because of a computer error that candidates lesser in merit were selected. But the court was informed that if the petitioners were to be appointed then there were 90 more candidates in the merit between the petitioners and the wrongly selected candidates who would also have to be appointed. The department appointed the petitioners, but since the department filed misleading statements in the court, seven candidates lower in merit were still continuing in the department, informed the petitioners' counsel.
Kakkar had submitted that department officials were trying to help the seven candidates and saving their skin by submitting such statements.
Justice Garg also issued directions to the high court registry to register separate contempt petition against seven selected candidates who were lower in merit than the petitioners and had concealed the facts from the court.