Court orders scrutiny of teachers’ recruitment process

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The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered forming a committee headed by the chief secretary to examine the recruitment process of government teachers and ascertain if the process is within the ambit of the law.The direction came on a petition against the appointment of over 550 government teachers, whose recruitment had been initiated in April 2012 by the education & literacy department, on the grounds that the whole process of hiring was fraught with grave illegalities and corrupt practices.

An SHC division bench comprising Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto and Justice Adnanul Karim Memon said that prima facie, there were certain discrepancies in the subject recruitment process.

Referring the matter to the CS, the court directed him to form and head a committee, with the education and service departments’ secretaries, and the director schools concerned as members, to scrutinise the candidature of each of the recruited candidates, including the private respondents and petitioners.

The bench ordered that the committee examine the subject recruitment process, including all the relevant documents of the aforesaid candidates to satisfy that the same were not fake, forged or manipulated, and to ascertain that the recruitment process was within the ambit of the relevant laws, rules and regulations.

The court said the committee will also assure themselves if each of the candidates meets the eligibility criteria prescribed in the advertisement, in pursuance of which their appointments were made.

The committee will also verify that at the time of the appointment, each of the candidates was a resident of the area concerned for which the appointment was made, added the court. The bench said that after hearing the petitioners and private respondents, including the successful candidates, and examining the documents furnished by the successful candidates, if the committee found them in order, and determined that they possessed the requisite qualification for the subject posts and met the eligibility criteria as laid down in the advertisement, in pursuance whereof the appointment process in question was initiated, they will be treated as valid and lawful appointees.The court said that if the recruitment process is found to be flawed, appropriate recommendations will be made under the law. The court also said that such an arrangement is subject to the outcome of the report of the committee, then directed the CS to conclude the exercise within three months.

The petitioners’ counsel contended that the education department had committed fraud on the statute and violated the basic terms of advertisement, thus making the entire recruitment process non-transparent.He said that illegalities were apparent in the recruitment process on the face of the record, as candidates had been earmarked for selection by political figures, and the purported selection committee was used as a rubber stamp only.

He added that unfortunately and regrettably, favouritism and cronyism were allowed to prevail over merit, and competence appointments were made only based on a written test, which was held on April 29, 2012, without interview.He also said the meeting of the district recruitment committee, which evaluated merit and fitness, held its meeting on June 6, 2012, and in one day, the merit of 455 candidates was evaluated, which was not humanly possible.

He added that the second list of the selected candidates also shows that 90 male and female teachers were selected in one day on June 11, 2012, but neither the roll numbers of these selected candidates were mentioned on the list nor the marks secured by them.

The provincial law officer said the petitioners had failed to point out any illegalities in the recruitment process, and as such had failed to make out their discrimination case as well. The respondents’ counsel questioned the maintainability of the petition, and said the court could not sit in appeal over a collective decision taken by a legally and duly formed selection committee.

He said the appointment orders of the private respondents were not fake, and the contentions of the petitioners were afterthoughts, so a heavy burden lies upon their shoulders to prove their contentions.

He added that the respondents were appointed by law, and there was no illegality in their appointments, and depriving them of their livelihood was not called for at this stage, so the instant petition was liable to be dismissed.

 

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