Rashid Paul

Are Wardens of hostels deriving any lawful advantages? HC asks TAD

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Dismisses petition filed by teachers posted as Wardens/Assistant Wardens in hostels for tribal and backward class students

Srinagar : A division bench of J&K High Court today ordered Tribal Affairs Department (TAD) to check the “unlawful advantages” derived (if any) by the teachers deputed as Wardens in hostels for tribal and backward class students in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The teachers deputed to the hostels had completed their term and challenged the government order that sent them back to their parent department.

Dismissing the writ petition by Rafaqat Ali and others, Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Sanjay Dhar observed, “It is enigmatic why should the petitioners be so eagerly interested in sticking to the posts of Wardens/Assistant Wardens in these hostels when they belong to the School Education Department”.

They hold substantive positions in their parent Department, said the bench adding “they have completed the prescribed tenure of three years. No such ground, much less plausible, is coming forth from the pleadings”.

The judges inferred “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 from by these teachers in their capacities as Wardens/Assistant Wardens which has induced the greed in them to hold these posts”.

They ordered that it 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 court held that there is no merit in the petition; “it is wholly unnecessary and deserves to be dismissed”, it said.

The court further recalled the principle of law established by the Supreme Court and the High Courts in India that writ jurisdictions were meant for enforcement of existing rights, the fundamental or other legal rights.

“At the very outset we observed that the petitioners do not seem to have any such existing right infringement whereof they are endeavoring to plead with a view to seeking judicial review of the action of the respondents”, said the bench.

The petitioners had filed a writ petition challenging the order dated 27.07.2020 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench, dismissing their application as being devoid of any merit.

The J&K state government in 2015 ordered a policy regarding posting of Wardens/Assistant Wardens in various hostels for underprivileged class students.

It asked the General Administration Department to obtain a panel of eligible Lectures/Head Masters/Masters with outstanding service career from School Education Department for the posts. The deputation was stipulated for two years and in no case was to be allowed beyond three years.

Pursuant to the Policy, the petitioners were transferred and deputed to function as Wardens/Assistants Wardens in the Hostels of Gujjars & Bakerwals and the Pahari Speaking People in the State.

On 27th of May 2020, the Additional Secretary to Government School Education Department asked the Directors School Education, Jammu and Kashmir divisions to furnish a fresh panel of suitable/eligible persons for posting them as Wardens.

The petitioners, (themselves belonging to the tribal and backward communities) felt aggrieved of the communication and challenged it before the Tribunal at Jammu which out rightly rejected their arguments.

The petitioners then filed a writ petition before the J&K High Court which dismissed it and ordered for examination as to why they (petitioners) were eager to stick to their position as wardens.

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