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HC orders re-selection of Rachan GMS peon

Nagaland News

Petitioners allege favouritism towards certain clans

DIMAPUR, JULY 3: After ruling that in absence of specific criteria in Government policies, a fair and transparent method must be adopted, the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has ordered the State’s School Education Department to re-conduct within 3 months the process of appointing a peon at Government Middle School, Rachan (Old Tssori) Village in Wokha District.
In a judgment issued on July 1, Justice Nelson Sailo stated that a submission was made before the Court that certain clan/clans have been favoured with appointment in the past and therefore, applicants from the clan which has not been given the benefit of appointment yet should be selected and appointed.
“On this submission, it is seen that the (Government) policy does not lay down the criteria to deal with such a situation and therefore a method which is fair and transparent will only have to be adopted”, the order stated.
As per Court records, the ruling was delivered against two petitions filed ~ one each by Lirenthung (in 2014) and Mhonjan Humtsoe (in 2015) ~ challenging the appointment of Khudemo Odyuo as peon of the Middle School.
In his petition, Lirenthung stated he belongs to Patton clan who had donated the land for the establishment of the Middle School and therefore, he should also have been considered for appointment to the post of peon in terms of Government policy pertaining to Education Department as circulated on August 5, 1991.
According to him, he submitted an application to the Principal Director of School Education on July 3, 2014 against the vacant post of peon but “without considering his case”, Khudemo Odyuo was appointed to the said post through an order issued on August 4, 2014.
The other petitioner, Mhonjan stated that he belongs to the Humtsoe clan who had donated a certain plot of land for construction of the Middle School.
“In terms of the standing Government policy for appointment on land donation, the petitioner submitted his application for the post of peon in the Middle School but instead, the private respondent (Khudemo Odyuo) was appointed vide the impugned order dated August 4, 2014”, it stated.
According to the Government order issued on August 4, 2014, Khudemo was appointed on ad hoc basis in terms of the Court’s directive issued on February 24, 2014 against a petition filed by Khudemo in 2013.
“Vide the order dated February 24, 2014, this Court had directed the respondents to consider his case along with other landowners, if any, by taking into consideration the verification report as well as the certificate issued in favour of the petitioner and to pass appropriate order in accordance with law. It is however noticed that prior to the disposal of the writ petition in the above manner on February 24, 2014, there were also other processes undertaken by the authorities. A perusal of the communication dated April 29, 2013 of the Under Secretary to the Government of Nagaland, School Education Department, addressed to the Principal Director of School Education, goes to show that the name of the petitioner in WP(C) No. 144(K)/2015 and the name of the private respondent along with 4 others had been forwarded for consideration for appointment to the post of peon in the said Middle School, with a request to conduct verification by the School Managing Board and the Circle Administrative Officer about the genuineness of landowner amongst the 6 aspiring candidates.
“Further, vide communication dated May 23, 2013 made by the Director of School Education to the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Bhandari, Nagaland, the latter was asked to conduct verification of genuine landowner of the Middle School concerned along with the Chairman of Village Council and School Managing Board and to submit a report for further necessary action. In the said letter, the names of 6 applicants including the petitioner in WP(C) No. 144(K)/2015 and the private respondent were enclosed. According to the verification said to be conducted on May 10, 2013 and clarification dated May 16, 2013, it was confirmed that the 2 clans Odyuo/Murry of Tssori village had donated the land for the school building and therefore, the private respondent was recommended for appointment to the post of peon in the said Middle School”, read the order.
However, the Judge noted that the verification and clarification precedes the letter issued on May 23, 2013 to the Additional Deputy Commissioner by the Director of School Education.
“The said petitioner (Lirnthung) had submitted his application for appointment to the post of peon in the said Middle School on July 3, 2014, which is prior to the appointment of the private respondent on August 4, 2014”, he stated.
In view of all these, Justice Sailo ruled that the respondent authorities concerned should once again undertake the exercise of selecting and making an appointment to the post of peon in the Middle School by considering the application submitted by the petitioners, the private respondent and any other similar situated persons, who had submitted application for such appointment before August 4, 2014.
“The respondent authorities shall make necessary verification in terms of the guidelines/policy contained in the Communication dated August 5, 1991, and thereafter, make a final decision. In the meantime, the private respondent shall be allowed to continue in service but his continuation under the said post would be subject to the decision to be taken by the respondent authorities, as directed herein above.
“The entire exercise as directed herein above should be completed within 3 months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order”, it stated.
(Page News Service)