JBT-TGT scam: HC comes to rescue of untainted teachers
The Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) has upheld a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order that had quashed a UT education department directive, terminating the services of 1,073 teachers in May 2018.
After the Junior Basic Teacher (JBT) recruitment scam was unearthed in 2016, services of these teachers, recruited under TGT (trained graduate teachers) and JBT cadres in 2015, were terminated without any prior notice, following which they had moved CAT.
A year later, the tribunal, in its judgment on May 6, 2019, had set aside the education department’s order, terming them “violative of Articles 14, 16, 21 and 311 of the Constitution, besides the principles of natural justice”.
Following the CAT order, the UT administration had approached the high court on July 31, 2019.
However, the court dismissed the administration’s appeal on Wednesday.
Investigating the recruitment scam, Chandigarh police have so far named 49 candidates, claiming they had access to the JBT exam’s leaked question paper.
However, following a police inquiry, the education department had decided to hold a fresh test and therefore, terminated services of all teachers recruited earlier.
Quashing this order, CAT in May had held, “The authorities have not cared to sort out tainted persons from untainted ones and for the sins of a few persons, who could have been pin pointed, the entire lot has been castigated.”
“The writ against candidates whose name does not figure in the FIR has been dismissed by the HC. Even those named in the FIR need to be served show-cause notice before being terminated,” said UT counsel Madhu Dayal .
She said it was almost impossible to ascertain, who had access to the question paper, as both prime accused died during the course of the investigation.
Sarabjit Singh, one of the petitioning teachers, said, “We were immensely stressed since UT’s order. Many of us also acquired ailments because of the constant stress.”
Another teacher, refusing to be named, said the education department had projected every teacher as a criminal. “We have gained our self-respect today,” she said.
UT had advertised the posts in 2014, following which a written test was conducted in February 2015. The appointment letters to selected candidates were issued in August 2015, a year before the scam came to the fore in 2016.
The recruitment test came under scanner after it was found that the question papers were leaked from a Delhi-based printing press at the behest of the prime accused, Mithilesh Pandey, and his associates Shailesh and JB Singh. This cast a shadow on the recruitment of all 1,073 teachers — 489 JBT and 584 TGT.