Justice delayed is justice denied

Showkat Wani
School education department of J&K government is one of the largest departments of the erstwhile State and has the distinction of running the whole department through In-charge officers. All higher secondary schools of the UT are manned by in-charge Principals .All High Schools of the UT are being managed by In-charge Headmasters Almost all the Zonal Education Officers, Zonal Education Planning Officers are working in In-charge capacity. Similarly most of the Joint Directors, Chief Education Officers , DIET Principals , Dy. Chief Education Officers , DIET HOD’s are working in In-charge capacities. Add to it the ill fated lot of In-charge Lecturers who are managing almost 50 percent positions in the department. Akin to the confirmed lecturers of the department, they have same responsibilities, same assignments, same accountabilities but what is not same is they are in-charge and have the tag of in-charge that is prefixed to them. Most of the in-charge lecturers were promoted in the year 2013 and 2014 with the assurances of confirmation through DPC/PSC within six months but seven years down the line there is no sight of their confirmation. Hundreds of them retired in the wait and hundreds expired but the authorities at the helm of affairs are least bothered to provide justice to them. When the in-charge officers retire, their pension is settled in the grades prior to their promotion and the families of the expired in-charge officers also get pension in the grades prior to their beloved ones promotions as Incharge. Is not it an irony, a travesty that an official is placed as in-charge officer strictly as per his/her seniority, is sent to far off place and he/she delivers his/her best to the satisfaction of his/her seniors and the department never bothers to provide this ill fated lot justice and rights that were long overdue to them. The hierarchy of administration should understand that this ill fated lot deserves confirmation of their promotions as they have satisfactorily done what was expected of them as government officers and as teachers but now it is the turn of the department to fulfill their commitment to these nation builders. Sensing and realizing the maltreatment that this ill fated section was facing, the then state government in February 2018 through a cabinet decision allowed one time exemption to education department to consider the cases of regularization of in-charge officers of all cadres through a committee headed by administrative secretary school education within two months. When the department could not come out with expected desired results, the then State Administrative Council headed by Satya Pal Malik through decision No.166/22/2018 Dated:07-12-2018, once more accorded one time exemption to education department for making regularization /promotion of officers (backlog & fresh) in respect of each gazetted category through a committee headed by administrative secretary school education department.
A separate Human Resource Management (HRM) cell was also sanctioned for the education department so that human resource issues will be taken care of in timely manner. A full fledged HRM cell headed by additional secretary with three section officers, two head assistants, and other staff somehow managed to conduct one DPC where some 358 in-charge officers were regularized. Although it was a small beginning but from then on , it seems HRM cell has gone disarray. From last one and half years the ill fated lot of in-charge officers, is asked to submit same documents repeatedly with no output.
Vigilance clearance has been sought twice and in some cases thrice as same gets invalid/expired after six months .Integrity /work conduct has been sought from subordinate offices again and again but to no output. Tentative seniority lists are circulated, objections invited, then final seniority lists are published and thereafter when nothing happens for years, to keep the ill fated lot of in-charge officers in illusion, to give them an impression that department is cognizant of their miseries, again and again various documents are sought and cycle of tentative and final seniority lists is again set in motion. The officers at the helm of affairs can not in any case justify the delay of pension settlement to the family members of expired in-charge officers. They can not even justify the delay of pension settlement(in promoted grade) to a retired in-charge officer who has given everything to the department when in service and is now made to run from pillar to post for collection of various papers demanded again and again by the department. Does not the persons responsible feel the guilt that inspite of cabinet decision , SAC decision, creation of HRM cell by government , they are failing to deliver justice to the in-charge officers. Clear cut directions from Hon’ble High Court in various cases , directions from incumbent Chief Secretary on the subject one year before, could not move things. If orders and directions from such authorities could not fetch the desired results, could not provide justice to in-charge officers, then one can easily understand the fate of other orders & directions in the subordinate offices.
Need of the hour is that Lt.Governor, Chief Secretary should fix responsibility and the officers/ officials who have been part of this sinister design to negate the government initiatives and directives be made accountable. Hope better sense will prevail upon all those at the helm of affairs and the ill fated lot of in-charge officers will get their due and deserving rights.
(The author Teaches Political Science HSS D.H.Pora Kulgam)