The Punjab education department has promoted a large number of teachers as lecturers who were ineligible and lacked the required benchmarks to make it to the next level.
According to the information available with the Hindustan Times, the education department has given out-of-turn promotions to at least 150 lecturers of 17 different subjects across the state.
The personnel department, which is with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, has strongly admonished the role of the education department in promoting teachers whose names did not figure in the departmental promotional committee (DPC) as they had failed to fulfil the eligibility criteria.
"We have given a very strong noting on the file that whatever promotions have been done after the DPC were illegal and the personnel department would not be responsible in case of an inquiry or legal scrutiny," said a senior officer of the personnel department.
The DPC was headed by education secretary Husan Lal, a representative each of the social welfare and personnel departments and the DPI, senior secondary schools.
Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka, who was seized of the matter, said, "Though a majority of the cases do not pertain to my current tenure, several irregularities have been committed in promoting teachers. A few teachers did not have the requisite qualification but were promoted. There are others whose names did not figure in the DPC, but they got the promotion."
The education minister said he was told that some of the staff had taken money to promote teachers who were not eligible. "I am ordering an inquiry and those found guilty would be brought to book," said Maluka.
He said the state government had to promote teachers in a hurry as many had moved court, so in the process a few eligible ones were left out. Enquiries by the Hindustan Times revealed that the education department had held the last DPC from December 13 to 17, 2011. During the DPC, the department had decided to promote 176 biology teachers of all categories. The cut-off date for the promotion of teachers was December 12, 1997.
However, the final list released by the education department on Sunday also had the names of two teachers whose names did not figure in the DPC held last year. These are Rajinder Singh, a science master, and Amita Sharma, a science mistress.
The department also allegedly ignored the seniority of 18 teachers who joined the service much before Rajinder and Amita and met all benchmarks. These teachers now intend to move court.
A recent list of promotion of Punjabi teachers issued by the education department had the name of one Avtar Kaur though she did not meet all 12 benchmarks needed for the elevation. Sources in the department said her case had been cleared on the recommendation of an inspector general of police posted at Patiala.
The education department in order to give out-of-turn promotions to several teachers reportedly hoodwinked the personnel department by ignoring the teachers' earlier annual confidential reports (ACRs). The department promoted some teachers on the basis of their recent ACRs.
Seven to eight teachers from 17 different subjects have already benefited from this. "A few officials of the education department were responsible for putting forward the recent ACRs of those teachers who otherwise would not have been promoted on the basis of their previous ACRs," alleged a senior official of the personnel department.