DB directs CS to take appropriate remedial measures to bring clarity, avoid litigation

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 30: Expressing concern over ambiguities in Rehbar-e-Taleem Scheme, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Ramlingam Sudhakar and Justice Sanjeev Kumar has directed the Chief Secretary to take appropriate remedial measures to bring clarity in the scheme which would, in turn, avoid unnecessary and uncalled for litigation in the courts.
“Rehbar-e-Taleem Scheme which was promulgated vide Government Order No.396-Edu of 2000 dated 28.04.2000 has generated unnecessary litigation and it is more because of the ambiguity created by the official respondents by issuing Government orders and circulars to supplement the Scheme from time to time”, the DB observed
In the original Scheme the unit of selection was “Village”. In other words, a candidate to be eligible to apply for the post of Rehbar-e-Taleem in a school where there is assessed deficiency of staff ought to be a person belonging to the village. In all reasonableness and logic, the term “Village” as used in the Scheme should have been understood as “Revenue Village” as defined in the Land Revenue Laws more particularly the Jammu & Kashmir Land Revenue Act, 1996.
Initially, there erupted litigation on account of the ambiguity of the term “Village”. In some judgments it was noted that the term “Village” would be understood as “Revenue Village” and some took a contrary view. Taking note of the ambiguity and cleavage of judicial opinion, the official respondents vide Government Order No.563-Edu of 2005 dated 24.08.2005 clarified and reaffirmed that the expression “Village” used in the instructions/orders would mean and shall always be deemed to have been meant “Revenue Village”. This perhaps would have solved the problem and avoided the uncalled for litigation but the Government, in its own wisdom and guided by considerations which are not discernable, came up with Govt Order No.288-Edu of 2009 dated 08.04.2009 expanding the scope of term “Village” by adding explanation to the original scheme promulgated in the year 2000.
DB further observed, “the Government order of 2009 whereby an explanation was introduced to the original Rehbar-e-Taleem Scheme introduced ambiguity in the matter of finding out the zone of selection and gave rise to unprecedented litigation. This was mostly because of the reason that the term “habitation” as used in the order is not traceable to land laws and is not defined in the Land Revenue Act or anywhere else”.
“In the absence of guidelines, the applicability or otherwise of Government Order No.288-Edu of 2009 was, thus, left to the whims of the officials of the Public Works, Revenue and Rural Development Departments. There are also no guidelines to find out the population of a particular habitation, whether it is the latest census available in the record or physical counting of the persons residing in the village which is required to be taken into consideration or some other ways and means are to be adopted, is not provided by the Government anywhere”, the Division Bench added.
“One fails to understand as to when the Government had restricted the unit of consideration to the ‘Village’ where there was assessed deficiency of staff in the school where was the necessity to further reduce it to the habitation”, the DB said, adding “the Rehbar-e-Taleem Scheme which restricts zone of consideration to the ‘Village’ definitely compromises the merit of the candidates and deprive the schools of the best talent to teach the students. No doubt, the Scheme was promulgated to achieve certain objects, though at the cost of merit”.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that there is dire need to give a fresh look to the Government order No.288-Edu of 2009 dated 08.04.2009 and consider the feasibility of keeping the revenue village as a unit for consideration of the eligible candidates. This would introduce clarity in the Scheme and would avoid unnecessary litigation”, DB said.
The Division Bench further observed, “we have noticed that many a schools could not be made functional or have been deprived of adequate staff due to the pendency of litigation inter se the candidates mostly prompted by the ambiguous provisions of Government Order No.288-Edu of 2009”, adding “a proactive approach in such matters is expected which otherwise is the obligation of the State to implement National Litigation Policy and its own Litigation Policy”.
“Both the policies are aimed at minimizing the litigation by adopting different measures. Ambiguity in many legislations and executive orders is also a source of generating, otherwise, avoidable litigation”, the DB said and asked Chief Secretary of the State and Secretary to Government, Law Department to examine these aspects at their level along with Education Department to take appropriate remedial measures.
“We have ventured to discuss all this only with a hope that the authorities at the helm of affairs would take note of the observations and take appropriate remedial measures to bring clarity in the scheme which would, in turn, avoid unnecessary and uncalled for litigation”, the DB said.