JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir government has revoked the suspension of an education officer by the Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner (DC), saying the official had detached a teacher from election work as per the orders of the State School Education Department.
Deputy Chief Education Officer, Kishtwar, Javed Ahmad Kitchloo was suspended by DC-cum-District Election Officer Angrez Singh Rana for allegedly creating hindrances in election-related works by detaching a teacher, Lok Raj, who was attached to the Bounjwah Tehsildar’s office for the 2017- 18 special summary revision and preparing for the panchayat polls.
Citing a detailed reply by the DCEO and taking various aspects into consideration, School Education Department, Secretary, Farooq Ahmad Shah, in his three-page order, revoked Kitchloo’s suspension and asked him to resume duty.
However, Rana expressed unhappiness over the Secretary’s order and said, “By this way the urgent election work will suffer in the district.”
“Being the district election officer, I have to ensure the completion of election-related work ahead of the panchayat polls, and if the officials are attached and detached like this, how will the process (special summary revision) get completed,” Rana told PTI.
The DCEO, in his order on November 9, had asked Tehsildar, Bounjwah, to direct Raj to report to his original place of posting at the Mughabad Middle School by citing a telephonic message from the DC’s office.
The Tehsildar in his response on November 23, had requested the DCEO not to detach the official by citing that “his services were required in election-related works till the completion of the summary revision”.
No such telephonic message was given to any officer from the DCs office in Kishtwar, officials claimed, adding that Kitchloo was called on Saturday by the DC to explain the reasons for misusing the name of his office and causing the undue hindrances.
However, instead of explaining his action, he got agitated and warned the DC that he “would create trouble for him”, they alleged.
Taking cognisance of the DC’s suspension order, the Secretary sought a detailed report from the DCEO, in which Kitchloo clarified his position and accused Rana of using “unparliamentary language” and asking the police to arrest him for not complying with his directions.
The DCEO claimed that it was on the verbal directions of the DC that he sought the detachment of Raj and that Rana had later demanded the reversal of the detachment order.
He said that he, however, expressed his inability to retain Raj in the Tehsildar’s office in view of the instructions of the School Education Department on November 22 for detaching all teachers working in various offices and asking them to report to their original places of posting so that routine work of schools do not suffer.
Referring to various directions of the government, the department had exempted teachers from non-teaching assignments, including election duties, in order to minimise interruption in teaching activities, the Secretary said.
The DC could have assigned duties for special summary revision to officials other than the teachers, Shah said.
“It should have been in the fitness of things, if the DC could have taken up the matter with the department, the chief education officer or the chief electoral officer, rather than taking an unilateral action by suspending the in-charge DCEO who is a senior level officer of the department,” he said.
Shah said the department after examining the matter, observed that the DC’s action had the “potential to create a law and order situation, given the fact that the teaching community may agitate against his action.”
“The DCEO was well within his rights to comply with the orders passed by his department and the issue of detachment of all teaching staff, including that of Raj, from the office of the Tehsildar. The department cannot afford to risk the future of thousands of students, especially in remote and far-flung areas of