Justice eludes Incharge Officers of School Education

Showkat Ahmad Wani
School Education Department used to elevate eligible PG Masters/Teachers as In-charge lecturers against 50% quota of vacancies of lecturers while as other 50% were referred to Public Service Commission for direct recruitment. The aspirants (unemployed), after going through selection process for 50% direct quota and selection by Public Service Commission used to get appointed by department on the recommendations of PSC and posted accordingly. For filling 50% quota of vacancies of lecturers earmarked for departmental promotion, department wastes years together to finalize tentative lists, service particulars verifications, issuance of final seniorities and thereafter the eligible PG Masters/Teachers are elevated/placed as In-charge lecturers with some charge allowance (lately that is not being given) and an assurance that within six months , their elevation /placement will be confirmed by DPC or PSC.
The eligible PG Masters/ Teachers who were or are promoted, never question or regret the loss of many years which they were made to suffer at the hands of department for finalizing their seniorities and verifications and they eat a humbles pie like bonded slaves. Justice demanded that both the sections that is direct recruits (PSC selected) and In-charges (Promoted against departmental quota) ought have been granted the new assignment simultaneously. Injustice with the cadre starts from this very step. Experienced Masters/ Teachers after getting elevated and enhanced assignments, without caring for the lost years ,go to far off places with a sense of pride that they have been found worth and trusted by the department for teaching higher classes and in the heart of hearts this poor lot never imagines what they will get in return from their department for the service they are rendering. They work hard, share equal responsibilities and accountabilities as other confirmed lecturers and face equal punishments for slackness and poor results. They are assigned other additional duties like election, census, covid in the same way as their counterparts , but only difference is that they are prefixed as In-charge Lecturers. They joyfully work at far flung areas to the satisfaction of their seniors as elevation instills in them, confidence, belongingness and credence. Similarly in other cadres officials as per seniority are elevated as I/c Principals ,I/c Headmasters ,I/c ZEO’s ,I/c Chief Education Officers etc. Years pass but the assurance of confirmation never gets fulfilled. Many of them retire in the process and when they go for settlement of their pension, it is settled one step down which means in the grades prior to their promotion. Upon enquiring they are made to understand that they were working as In-charges and have not been confirmed against the promoted posts yet. With no other option, they accept law of the land and hope that since department has started the process of confirmation four five years before, sooner or later they will get confirmed and accordingly will be entitled to pensionary benefits. Benefits do not come and in the wait they leave for eternal world, their kiths and kins/ family is made to move from pillar to post to submit various documents year after year for confirmation of services of their beloved now deceased, in grades in which they had served , but the confirmation never materializes. With the passage of time more and more In-charge officers leave for eternal world with the yearning of confirmation which did never come during their life time. On the other hand the number of In-charge Officers retiring goes on adding day by day and they too are made to submit various documents often now and then and in old age when they are suffering from various ailments ,when they needed comfort and support, , they are seen collecting papers from various offices, facing humiliation, disgrace and embarrassment because at many places they face awkward situations. The old aged persons bear all this with all humility, hoping against hope that someday they will get their due and deserving right but alas , the dream never comes true .The process of confirmation started in 2015 is still to get completed. The then Cabinet in 2018 allowed one time exemption to School Education Department to clear regularization cases of all backlog In-charge officers but the desired results did never come . Cabinet grants exemption in extraordinary situations but the department could not come out with desired results.
Thereafter, in the year 2019, sensing the gravity of the situation, the then State Administrative Council headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik once again granted one time exemption to the Education Department to consider regularization cases of all In-charge officers so that this humane issue is addressed and settled once for all. To speed up promotion / seniority and confirmation issues Chief Secretary was gracious and kind enough to sanction a full fledged HRM cell for the Department of Education and accordingly GAD posted staff for newly created HRM cell. The land mark decisions of the then Governments could not fetch anything except one DPC held in July 2019 where some 385 officers of various cadres were cleared for confirmation and irony being half of them are still to receive their confirmation orders after the lapse of one year. From the last one year the department has been issuing tentative lists , inviting objections from concerned , then final lists and again tentative lists. The never ending process of tentative lists and final lists has put the In-charge officers ,whether working , retired or families of the expired ones in a quandary and they repent and regret of having availed the elevation.
DPC meetings are fixed and at the eleventh hour postponed due to one or the other reason. In-charge officers are delayed justice and is it not the duty of the authorities at the helm to see to it, that these unfortunate lot get justice? Why are In-charge officers victimized, mistreated and maltreated? Why is process lingering on from years? Who is playing behind the scene and is sabotaging the process often now and then.? For what sins this ill fated lot of In-charge officers is denied conformation, neither during their life time nor even after their death? Is not there any accountability for the people responsible for this delay? In-charge officers have now lost faith on the system and seeing their colleagues retiring, expiring without getting their due and deserving right, they don’t think otherwise for themselves. When in March 2020, son of the soil Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon took over the reins of the education department, a ray of hope, optimism rekindled among the distressed In-charge officers of school education, but six months down the line nothing has changed for them till date. Given the widely acclaimed track record and administrative acumen of Principal Secretary Dr A.H.Samoon, In-charge officers of school education are optimistic & convinced that justice will not elude them for long, now.
(The author is I/c Lecturer (Pol.Science) HSS D H Pora Kulgam)