Two weeks after the Punjab and Haryana high court ordered it to prepare a fresh merit list of the teachers hired in 2009, by deducting the controversial five marks in the descriptive test, the education department has now confined the exercise to social studies teachers only.
In its recent order, the Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) directed the education department to prepare a fresh merit list of the 536 teachers hired in 2009 by deducting the five marks assigned to the descriptive test from the criteria finalised on July 21, 2009.
The decision came after court found that five marks assigned in the descriptive test was illegal and against the conditions of the department’s advertisement published in 2007 for the posts.
Under pressure of implementing the order, the education department has now begun the process of preparing the fresh merit list, a move that, according to sources, is a half-hearted exercise.
A department official, not wishing to be named, said that the court’s observation had made the position of all teachers then recruited untenable.
“Confining the preparation of a fresh merit list to one subject is against the spirit of the judicial order. Therefore, the department must prepare the fresh merit list of all the teachers as the court directed,” he said.
On the other hand, DPI (s) Kamlesh Kumar said that the writ petition that forced the department to revise the merit list involved the petitioners who taught the social studies subject. “Therefore we are accordingly preparing the merit list and will submit in the court before July 7, he said.
An official involved in this exercise said that the department is following precedents set by other states in which, following such court orders, merit lists were revised only for the subject teachers in question. “However the department will revised merit lists for other subjects if there are further litigations for those subjects,” he said.
Sources in the department said that except one or two teachers, no major change was expected in social studies list. A senior official said that in his personal view, no teacher recruited in 2009 should be disqualified from the job as they had been serving the department for several years now. “However, we will seek legal opinion before adjusting or terminating any teacher getting disqualified by virtue of the fresh merit list,” he said.
Many in the department, meanwhile, feel that despite high court’s attempts to rectify the anomalies in the 2009 recruitment process, the process of short listing of criteria laid down in its 2007 advertisement is yet to be considered.
A official said that there was an important rider in 2007 advertisement that the objective (multiple choice) paper was to be checked only for those candidates who would score a minimum of 30% marks in subjective paper (descriptive test) However, there several teachers recruited in 2009 failed to score 30% marks in subjective test, but were hired.
Meanwhile, teachers recruited in 2009 say that they should not be made to take the fall for the department’s violations.
A teacher, not wishing to be named, said that she left her regular job in Haryana to take up one in the city in 2009.
“Now if the department says I am disqualified, where will I go? Senior department officials who tampered with the 2007 advertisement and framed their own rules in 2009 should be held responsible,” she said.