Finding the 2000 selection of 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers by the Haryana government "vitiated, though not fully", the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday ordered a fresh merit list within four weeks.
The move will terminate the services of undeserving teachers who were recruited when Om Prakash Chautala was chief minister. Pronouncing the judgment over some 13-year-old petitions challenging the selection, justice K Kannan made it clear that the appointment of at least 221 teachers, whose marks were reduced later but still their names put on the merit list, shall not be interfered with.
The court also clarified that 123 candidates on both merit lists (original as well as tainted) had the right to continue in the job, and it was for the state to ascertain the correct position. "There had been a serious dent to the selection itself and it was vitiated seriously by facts clearly brought out through the CBI investigation and by the nature of defence taken before the criminal court," observed justice Kannan.
The court said the judgment should not be seen as approval of selection of only of 221 candidates but the state government should prepare a single merit list afresh after ascertaining the cutoff marks on the basis of original scores the respective interview boards had entered. "District-wise selection discarding the state merit list is untenable and constitutionally impermissible," the court made clear.
All selected not meritorious
"The selection list which was published was not genuine and did not contain all candidates who were meritorious. It was a mix of deserving candidates who had an entitlement to be selected, and there were candidates who did not secure such entitlement," observed justice Kannan.
Rejecting the argument of selected candidates that they had served for 13 years already and their selection could not be interfered with, the court said: "The distinction between the tainted and untainted is required to be maintained: there could be no prescription period to hold on, if tainted."
Corruption not always two-way
"Corruption is not at all times noted as a two-way process, of a person who was willing to corrupt the other, and the other person who gave in to such corruption," opined Justice Kannan.
He added that if some of the candidates were favoured for the only reason that they belonged to the district where some of the ministers had interest, it would only mean that the candidates had come by favour, not perhaps at their personal bidding but they were beneficiaries all the same by a process that was objectionable and constitutionally impermissible.
List of selected JBT teachers
Appointed teachers whose names will not be on the fresh merit list will get termination orders without receiving any show-cause notice, and no recoveries shall be made for the salary paid already
After the termination orders, the service benefits applicable will be released to teachers within eight weeks and they shall not be subject to any disqualification for consideration to future appointments.
The state, in the court's opinion, "may take" a policy decision for giving age relaxation to the fired teachers for filling any fresh vacancies in the "next immediate selection".
November 1999: 3,206 posts of JBT teacher advertised
October 2000: Result declared of 7,707 interviews
November 2000: Selection challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court
May 2004: The CBI registers case
January 2013: A Delhi court convicts accused, including Indian National Lok Dal supreme leader Om Prakash Chautala and his son, Ajay Chautala
January 2014: High court directs state to prepare fresh merit list and fire undeserving candidates
As per CBI
956 selected candidates whose marks were increased
1,950 selected candidates whose marks were decreased
123 selected candidates in both original and tainted lists