Ambiguity in ReT Scheme: DB for implementing national, State litigation policies -
Ambiguity in ReT Scheme: DB for implementing national, State litigation policies
Posted 01 May 2018 01:30 PM

A Division Bench of State High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Ramlingam Sudhakar and Justice Sanjeev Kumar on Monday expressed concern over ambiguities in Rehbar-e-Taleem Scheme and asked State to implement national litigation policy.
The Division Bench observed that Rehbar-e-Taleem Scheme which was promulgated by the Government Order No.396-Edu of 2000 dated April 28, 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.
“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 promulgated vide aforesaid order should have been understood as “Revenue Village” as defined in the land Revenue Laws more particularly the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act, 1996″, the court observed adding that initially there erupted litigation on account of the ambiguity of the term “Village” as 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 aforesaid ambiguity and cleavage of judicial opinion, the official respondents vide Government Order No.563-Edu of 2005 dated August 28, 2005 had 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 on the aforesaid aspect 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 April 8, 2009 expanding the scope of term “Village” by adding explanation to the original Scheme promulgated in the year 2000″, the court observed adding that an addendum to the aforesaid Government order was issued on April 9, 2009 whereof, the unit of consideration which was earlier revenue village was further restricted to habitations fulfilling four requirements viz habitation must be scattered in the revenue village concerned, the habitation must be popularly known as village, the habitation should be at least one kilometer away from other habitation and the habitation should have a population of more than 300 souls.
It was observed that order of 2009 introduced ambiguity in the matter of finding out the zone of selection and gave rise to unprecedented litigation as 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 and no specific boundaries were documented anywhere. Besides, the Government did not provide for any guidelines for measuring the distance between two habitations, whether the distance from one habitation to another habitation is to be measured from the last house of the one habitation to the first house of the other habitation or it should be measured between central points of two habitations, the court observed.
“In the absence of such 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”, Division Bench observed.
DB further observed that any Scheme of appointment which restricts the zone of consideration on the basis of domicile of a person, would offend the Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.
“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”, the court observed.
“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 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”, the DB said adding that many schools are facing staff dearth due to the pendency of litigation on account of ambiguity of the aforesaid order.
“There is another aspect of ReT Scheme which we need to take note of. The original Scheme, provided that a candidate to be eligible to be engaged as Rehbar-e-Taleem Teacher should belong to the village concerned where there is assessed deficiency of staff. The term “belong to the village” also became subject matter of litigation in this Court. Later on, the State vide Government Order No.394-Edu of 2006 dated July 28, 2006 added an explanation to Clause (i) of the eligibility clause in Government Order No.396-Edu of 2000. The explanation reads as “Explanation: The word ‘belong’ and “local candidate” shall mean that the candidate to be appointed should be actually residing at the time of appointment in the village where the appointment is to be made,” the DB observed adding that the term “at the time of appointment” is also capable of more than one interpretation.
DB further observed that all these questions, in the absence of proper guidelines, are capable of more than one interpretation and DB noticed that this aspect too has generated a lot of litigation which would have been conveniently avoided by the government by coming up with unequivocal and unambiguous provisions.
DB observed that it is the obligation of the State to implement National Litigation Policy and its own Litigation Policy. Both the policies one framed at national level and other at State level aim at minimizing the litigation by adopting different measures. Observing that ambiguity in many legislations and executive orders is also a source of generating avoidable litigation, the court asked Chief Secretary of the State and Secretary to Government, Law Department to examine aforesaid aspect at their level along with Education Department to take appropriate remedial measures.

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