NEW DELHI: As many as 1,983 physical training instructors (PTIs) in Haryana schools and junior colleges will lose their jobs as the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a 2013 judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had quashed their appointments terming their selection arbitrary.
These PTIs were recruited for government schools and junior colleges during the tenure of B S Hooda as chief minister in 2010 through the Staff Selection Commission. On appeals filed by selected candidates against the HC judgment, the SC had in 2013 ordered status quo, which allowed the 1,983 PTIs to continue in service.
After nearly seven years, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha upheld the HC judgment of September 30, 2013. It said their selection was arbitrary and that the SSC or state government failed to explain the rationale behind the selections. However, the SC gave the ousted PTIs some relief by asking the state not to recover the salary they had earned during these 10 years of employment through an arbitrary recruitment, as they had continued in service because of the SC’s interim order.
The SC directed the SSC to hold fresh selection for recruitment of PTIs as per per the December 28, 2006, advertisement by holding objective type written test of 200 marks and viva voce of 25 marks. “All the applicants who had submitted applications in response to the above advertisement including those who were selected shall be permitted to participate in the fresh selection as directed,” it said.
The SSC had advertised for recruitment of PTIs in 2006 and had scheduled written examination in February 2007. This was cancelled and rescheduled to July 2008. It was again cancelled. The SSC then suddenly decided to shortlist candidates from among 22,000-odd applicants on the basis of their academic qualifications. It held interviews of shortlisted candidates and then declared results. When the unsuccessful candidates challenged the selection process, a single judge bench of the HC quashed the selections.
On appeal, an HC division bench upheld the single judge’s decision and said, “Why the education department was in such a hurry or overtly anxious to give appointment to the selected candidates with doubtful academic credentials is beyond one’s comprehension.”
Even during the hearing of appeals in the SC, the bench of Justices Bhushan and Sinha had asked for the original records from the SSC regarding selection of PTIs. The SSC had failed to answer the SC’s question relating to the rationale behind different methods of grading of candidates by SSC members.
Though the HC had quashed the appointments in September 23, 2013, and saddled the SSC and the Haryana government with huge costs running into lakhs of rupees, an SC bench headed by then judge B S Chauhan had ordered status quo on November 29, 2013, while entertaining appeals against the HC verdict. It is this interim order which had saved the jobs of the PTIs, who will now lose their employment.