ReTs’ Screening Test: High court asks govt to strictly abide by its verdict; chides teachers for protesting

SRINAGAR: The High Court on Thursday asked the government to strictly comply with its judgment about the screening test of Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers, even as it deferred the hearing on a plea by aggrieved teachers till Friday.
Last year, the High Court had ordered the government to conduct screening test of those ReT teachers who have acquired degrees from educational institutions from outside the state, some of whom it likened to “tuck shops”.
To indentify such ReT teachers, the court had directed commissioner secretary Education department to constitute a committee of experts and then conduct their screening test. Those who fail in the test were ordered to be terminated after following the principle of natural justice.
The direction was passed by the court after an applicant for ReT teacher position failed to write an essay on ‘the cow’ and couldn’t solve a class 4 arithmetic problem.
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.
However, the ReT teachers including those who been regularised after completing five years of probation period, as provided in the scheme, challenged it, saying it was contrary to the court’s judgment.
As the plea came up for hearing before the court, a bench of justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar directed the government to comply with judgment in “letter and spirit” and do whatever is contained in the verdict.
The court also directed Additional Advocate General Mehfooz Nazki to seek instruction about the screening test and deferred the hearing for Friday.
During the proceedings, the court also came down heavily on the teachers for protesting on streets on the issue.
“This is not the way to get grievances redressed. What will be the impact of this act (protest) on the students? If they (ReT teachers) have any grievance, they have remedy available which is to come before the court of law,” the court observed.
The ReT teachers have filed the petition through some of their union members and their counsel argued 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 competed their degrees through regular process and from recognised universities, so the question of intermingling and directing all them (ReTs) to face the screening test is not only contrary to the law but is also to the judgment by court,” the counsel said and urged the court to quash the December-29 order.
He said that the order also makes clear that the commissioner secretary was required to constitute the committee to identify the fake degree holders only.
“The CommSuite 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.”
He 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,” the counsel added.