The Punjab and Haryana high court has settled the controversy over the appointment of physical training instructors (PTIs) in schools by the Punjab government. Against the 849 posts advertised in 2006, the state government has now been told to appoint around 1,400 PTIs.
The government had in 2008 appointed 849 teachers with essential qualification being a certificate course in physical education (CPEd). The selection criterion, however, was challenged in 2008 by those having higher qualification of bachelor in physical education (BPEd) and diploma in physical education (DPEd).
While upholding the appointment of 849 PTIs, who were selected on the basis of the first merit list prepared by the state, the bench of justice RN Raina recently said these appointees could not be packed off home merely because they did not possess higher qualification.
“They came on the basis of criteria duly published and possessed the essential qualification with no preferences advertised,” the HC held.
In 2010, an HC full bench had decided in favour candidates possessing higher qualifications, saying they could not be excluded from consideration following which the merit list was re-drawn. However, nearly 400 original-appointees who were given termination notices by the government, got stay against the government orders. Resultantly, the number of these PTIs went up to 1,250. The HC has now stated that these 400-odd teachers were also protected by the earlier judgment.
The government has been asked to consider appointment of another 119 PTIs, who could not be appointed as the government cited ‘no vacancies’ after the revised 2010 merit list was challenged. As a result, the total appointments would go up to 1,400 as against 849 posts advertised.
The order is to be complied with within 8 weeks including completion of formalities, including background checks, medical fitness and more.
Earlier, Punjab additional advocate general Harsimran Singh Sethi argued that only 849 candidates could be appointed keeping in view the number of vacancies. As per the law, the candidates more than the advertised vacancies could not be appointed. It was also argued that state was not in a position to accommodate all candidates, who were appointed in pursuance to the first merit list as well as the candidates who have come within the zone of consideration for appointment in the second merit list.
However, the HC stated that it was a case with “extraordinary situations” and would “require extraordinary measures” for its settlement. “The problem may be vexed involving important policy matter, but that does not mean that it has no judicial solution on the materials available on record for court to take a decision without waiting for the government to decide on what to do, prevaricate and soft pedal these cases which have been pending for the last 5 to 6 years in motion hearing without resolution,” the court said while disposing of the matter.
However, court recorded that the judgment would not be treated as a precedent to be cited in other cases since it was “decided on its own facts and circumstances”.