HC upholds closure of ReT scheme

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Feb 6: High Court has upheld the decision of the Government on closure of Rehber-e-Taleem (ReT) scheme with the rider that the closure of scheme would not affect the select panels as also would not override the judgments passed by the court and shall not affect the cases pending before the court.
The court has disposed of a batch of petitions challenging the closure of the ReT scheme. “We, in the present case, are confronted with executive override which, in any case, is not permissible in law. The Executive is bound to comply with the orders of the Court and has no power, jurisdiction or competence to sit over or overturn such a decision by mere executive fiat”, Division Bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Moksha Kazmi said.
The court while upholding the decision of the court clarified that the impugned Government order will not affect the select panels prepared by the respondents which have been acted upon and formal orders of engagement have been issued. Court has also made it clear that the impugned Government Order will not override or affect the judgments passed or to be passed by this Court holding a candidate entitled to engagement in the selection process which is under challenge before the Court.
Court has also clarified that the closure of scheme will not affect the cases where the select panels are approved and the aggrieved party has approached the Court before it could be acted upon, in that, but for litigation in the Court, the approved panel/panels could have been acted upon and formal letters of engagement in favour of the selected candidates issued prior to the issuance of the impugned Government order
The Court said that despite the closure of the scheme the authorities shall abide by the judgments passed by any competent Court of law which have attained finality. “However, the writ petitions involving adjudication of disputes in respect of tentative merit lists or tentative select panels shall be liable to be dismissed in view of the impugned Government order, in that, it would not be permissible for a Court of law to direct the respondents to finalize the tentative merit lists or tentative select panels and issue engagement orders in view of closure of the scheme”, reads the judgment.
Court with these conditions has upheld the constitutionality of the impugned Government Order. In these petitions, Government Order No. 919-Edu of 2018 dated 16th November 2018 was under challenge. The impugned order was passed by the Government pursuant to State Administrative Council decision No. 129/19/2018 dated 14th November 2018 to formally close ReT Scheme as also providing for cancellation and withdrawal of all advertisement notices issued for making engagement of ReT or the panels prepared where no engagement orders have been issued under the scheme.
The scheme was formulated in the year 2000 by the then Government with an objective to promote decentralized management of elementary education with community participation and involvement to ensure accountability and responsiveness through a strong back up and supervision through the community and to operationalize effectively the schooling system at the grass root level.