HC Junks Plea By Teachers Against Continuation of GB Hostel Wardens  

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J&K High Court – File Pic

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition by a group of teachers who had challenged process linked to their repatriation to parent department after completing tenure as Wardens or Assistants Wardens in the Hostels of Gujjars and Bakerwals and the Pahari Speaking People in the J&K.

The teachers had actually challenged Central Administrative Tribunal’s order, dismissing their plea in this regard.

A bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Sanjay Dhar also termed it as “enigmatic” the eagerness of these teachers to continue to the posts of Wardens or Assistant Wardens in these hostels and asked Tribal Affairs Department to be watchful in ensuring funds allotted for the benefit of the poor students reach them as is provided on paper and due to them.

“It is enigmatic why should the petitioners (teachers) be so eagerly interested in sticking to the posts of Wardens / Assistant Wardens in these hostels when they belong to the School Education Department and hold substantive positions in their parent Department, moreso when they have completed the prescribed tenure of three years,” the court said. “No such ground, muchless plausible, is coming forth from the pleadings.”

However, the court said, inferably, it is likely that since there are huge funds allocated for the benefit of the students in these hostels, incurable on their day-to-day needs, “some advantage might be derived there from by these teachers in their capacities as Wardens /Assistant Wardens which has induced the greed in them to hold these posts.”

“This needs to be carefully and strictly watched and checked by the Tribal Affairs Department, lest the students housed in these hostels belonging to downtrodden strata of the society should be deprived of what otherwise is provided for them on paper and is due to them.”

The teachers had challenged July 27 order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench, dismissing their plea for continuation as wardens and assistant wardens as being devoid of any merit.

On 13 March 2015 the Government had ordered a policy regarding posting of Wardens and Assistant Wardens in various Advisory Boards. Among others, the General Administration Department was to obtain a panel of eligible Lectures, Head Masters, Masters with outstanding service career from School Education Department for their posting as such Wardens or Assistant Wardens on deputation.

The tenure of deputation has to be for two years and in no case, it shall be allowed beyond three years.”

Pursuant to the Policy, the teachers were transferred and deputed to function as Wardens or Assistants Wardens in the Hostels of Gujjars & Bakerwals and the Pahari Speaking People in the J&K.

On 19-09-2019, advisor (F) to lieutenant governor directed that the Department shall issue notification regarding the engagement or employment of wardens on outsourcing basis.

27 May this year, the Additional Secretary to Government, School Education Department asked the Directors, School Education, Jammu and Kashmir, to furnish panel of suitable/eligible persons (2 names per post) for posting them as Wardens / Assistant Wardens in Gujjar and Bakerwal Hostels of the J&K to be appointed as per 2013 policy.

The petitioners had challenged the 27 May 2020 communication by the Additional Secretary to Government, contending among others that same was “illegal and arbitrary”.

They had said that since there is no Chairman of the Board available, the GAD was rendered helpless in making deputations in terms of 2015 policy order and that the communication was contrary to the decision taken in the review meeting of the Tribal Affairs Department to fill up the posts by outsourcing.

Also they had contended that due to Covid-19, while the Hostels had been converted into Quarantine Centres and the petitioners appointed as Nodal Officers for their respective Quarantine Centres or Hostels, “their displacement would expose them to grave threats and inconvenience.”  (GNS)

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