Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Friday reserved its verdict on a petition by ReT teachers against a government order that asked them to write a screening test.
“Why do they shy away from the test? The government order mentions general line teachers also, it is not the ReT teachers only,” a bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar asked the counsel for ReTs before reserving the verdict.
“Teachers shape the society. Instead of bringing yourself down in the eyes of people, take the test for which a syllabus of 8th class has been prescribed,” the court said, while observing a teacher commands huge respect and the profession should not be allowed to be clouded by those who find entry into this profession by dubious means.
Last year, the court had directed commissioner secretary Education department to constitute a committee of experts and then conduct the screening test of those teachers who have acquired degrees from educational institutions from outside the state, some of whom it likened to “tuck shops”.
Those who fail in the test were ordered to be terminated after following the principle of natural justice.
Subsequently, the government issued an order (No. 631-Edu of 2015) on December 29 last year, introducing screening test for all the ReT teachers who have obtained degrees from study centers or distance mode.
“It is first time the government did good job for the interest of society as teachers with dubious qualifications are an irreparable loss to the society,” the bench said, observing that the ReT teachers should have voluntarily accepted this test.
The ReT teachers including those who have been regularised after completing five years of probation period, known as regularized RETs, challenged the government order, saying it was contrary to the court’s judgment.
The court also reiterated that the government was duty bound to implement its judgment, issued last year after an applicant for ReT teachers’ post failed to write before it “an essay on the cow” and couldn’t solve a class 4 arithmetic problem.
“Teacher profession is not only for the sustenance, but a service for society,” the court said, questioning as to how the government would find whether the certificates have been obtained from “tuck shops” or not.
It also observed that the judgment has attained finality as nobody has challenged it till date.
Additional Advocate General Mehfooz Nazki produced a Supreme Court judgment in support of his contention, saying that the apex court has held that the test of teachers was required to find out whether they have ability to teach the students. He also referred to an SRO issued by the state government where under general line teachers too have to go through the test.
The ReT teachers have filed the petition through some of their union members contending that asking all the ReT teachers to sit in the screening test was against the court verdict as well as the rules.
“The petitioners (ReTs) have completed their degrees through regular process and from recognised universities, so the question of intermingling and directing all of them (ReTs) to face the screening test is not only contrary to the law but is also to the judgment by court,” they said and urged the court to quash the December-29 order.
The order also makes clear that the commissioner secretary was required to constitute a committee to identify the fake degree holders only, they said.
“The committee was required to frame a list of all those candidates whose degrees have been found fake and have obtained appointment on the basis of such degrees. Instead, the (commissioner secretary) has directed all the ReTs teachers to appear in the screening test which neither is warranted under law nor was the direction of the High Court.”
They said how only the ReT/Teachers can be subjected to “discrimination” when other teachers appointed through regular process are also producing the degrees obtained from recognized institutes from where the ReTs have obtained their degrees.
“So, in this backdrop also, the (government) is discriminating within the class of teachers which is not permissible under law,” they added.