The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday made it clear to the Punjab government that it must start the process for filling 1,925 posts of private-aided college lecturers and 964 non-teaching posts so as to submit the status report on October 10 to the court.
The directions came from the division bench comprising acting chief justice Ashutosh Mohunta and justice HS Sidhu in an ongoing case when Punjab’s principal secretary (higher education), Roshan Sunkaria, was also present in the court. Sunkaria gave an undertaking to the court that the process would start before September 30 as the matter had been sent to the competent authority for approval.
On the previous date of hearing, the high court, after being surprised to know that the Punjab government was carrying on with just 50% strength of college lecturers, that too on the basis of cadre review decades ago in 1980, had summoned the principal secretary (higher education) for an explanation on Monday.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Sameer Sachdeva submitted an application in the case that contempt-of-court action should be started against the officers concerned for misleading the court on the issue since a long time. He said the state government authorities were reluctant to fill the seats, which was hampering students’ careers. On this, the court also issued a notice of motion to the state government to file its reply to the averments made by the petitioner in the application by the next date of hearing.
The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by Jagwant Singh of Chandigarh, seeking directions to the government for filling the sanctioned 1,925 posts of lecturer in private aided colleges.
The petitioner had sought quashing of the ban on filling sanctioned teaching and nonteaching posts in aided colleges. Since the state government will have to bear Rs. 150 crore as the cost of filling the 1,925 posts, recruitment is being delayed, the petitioner claimed. The next hearing is on October 10.