Minister for School Education, Haj and Auqaf and Tribal Affairs Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali today impressed on concerned to reduce the litigation against the departments by creating a transparent mechanism.Speaking during a meeting to review of the ongoing court cases against the School Education, Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education, and Haj and Auqaf, the Minister said that responsibility needs to be fixed on the concerned department for why litigations are getting filed. “We have to make people in our departments responsible and most importantly make them accountable so that plaintiff is not forced to go to court,” the Minister said.Stressing on the need to create a transparent mechanism, the Minister elaborated that it is imperative that such a mechanism is put in place which would ensure that people are heard and their issues are settled amicably much before they decide to go to court.Deliberating over cases related to service matters, the Minister said that if promotions are done in a time bound manner, departmental promotion committees are organized frequently and a proper transfer policy is finalized there is no reason why people will not think of going to court.Speaking about the functioning of private schools, the Minister said while the government is keen to work in harmony with private schools, yet it becomes the latter’s responsibility to ensure that norms fixed for private schools are adhered in letter and spirit.
Zulfkar Ali said that his office is getting frequent complaints that teachers working in private sector are not getting paid as per the set guidelines. There are some schools who are charging monthly fee from the parents for the vacation period, yet they deprive their staff of their salaries for the same time period, said the Minister, adding this is not acceptable.The Minister said charging parents’ transportation fee during vacations is totally unethically and unacceptable, and the practice should be immediately stopped.Speaking on fee fixation issue of private schools, the Minister said schools should charge a monthly fee as per the facilities they provide, as per the infrastructure it has, and as per the quality of staff working for it.“A school charging several thousand rupees as monthly fee should have facilities like proper swimming pool, a big playing field, good recreational facilities, a big library, a well-qualified staff, a computer laboratory, science laboratory and other features,” the Minister said.During the meeting, the Minister directed the concerned to ensure that no school in the State is allowed to run without having a proper registration from the department.Zulfkar directed for issuing a circular mentioning the private schools using government resources, like their land, should reserve seats for students coming from a humble financial background of the society as per the directive issued by the apex court.
The Minister also directed the concerned to ensure that school property anywhere in the State is not used for any other purpose. He said it will be the discretion of the department to decide what it wants to do with it.Giving the break-up of cases of School Education, the meeting was informed that a total number of 1159 cases is pending in Kashmir province. Out of this 822 are pending before High Court, 183 are pending before subordinate courts, 149 are contempt petition, while as five cases are of public interest litigation (PIL).For Jammu division, a total number of cases pending are 2036, out of them 1921 are pending in High Court and 115 are pending before subordinate courts. Likewise, court cases pending in the administrative department are 3283.The meeting was informed that 510 cases of JKBOSE are pending. Out of them, 240 are for Kashmir province, while 137 are for Jammu province. Out of them 64 are in HC, while as number of appeals is 10 and different correction petitions are 59.Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal, Secretary School Education Farooq Shah, Chairperson JK BOSE Prof Veena Pandita, Commissioner Secretary Revenue Shahid Inayat-ullah, Director School Education Kashmir G N Itoo, Director School Education Jammu Rakesh Srangal, Special Secretary H L Sethi, and concerned law officers and departmental staff were present in the meeting.