Officials of the State School Education Department on Tuesday admitted before the Madras High Court Bench here that they had made several appointments to the posts of watchman and sweeper in Madurai district on the recommendations of MLAs, Ministers and district secretaries of the ruling party.
Justice S. Nagamuthu directed Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian to get instructions from the State government about its stand on the issue before he could initiate any action such as ordering an inquiry by external agencies.
K. Ganesan (38), a hearing-impaired candidate, who was not selected as a watchman despite the three per cent reservation for the disabled and being eligible for the post, moved the court challenging the appointments made in 2012 in Usilampatti education district.
Through his counsel S. Balamurugan, he alleged that the officials adopted ‘illegal methods at the instance of politicians’ to appoint watchmen and sweepers.
According to the counsel, the petitioner sought information under the Right to Information Act on the appointment of candidates. The reply indicated that only a few candidates were appointed on merits and the rest on the recommendations of ruling party politicians. On the instructions of Justice S. Manikumar, the Usilampatti district educational officer submitted records of the appointments.
The records indicated that six out of eight appointments to the post of watchman were made on the recommendations of Madurai North MLA, Usilampatti MLA, Co-operation Minister and Madurai district secretary of AIADMK. Only two candidates were selected on merit, the report said.
Ten out of the 25 candidates were appointed as sweepers on merit basis, whereas the other 15 got the job on the recommendations of the Madurai South MLA, Thotiyam district secretary, Usilampatti MLA, Tirumangalam MLA, Cooperation Minister and Madurai North MLA, the report said. Officials from the Madurai, Usilampatti and Melur Educational Districts were summoned to the court on Tuesday.
A desk superintendent from Usilampatti DEO’s office told the judge that he received a call from the Directorate of School Education on July 26, 2012, to make the appointments based on recommendation letters.
After the appointments were made, the recommendation letters were forwarded to the school education director’s office, the Usilampatti DEO submitted.
However, the petitioner’s counsel alleged that the officials removed the recommendation letters from the files submitted in court. K. Devarajan, director of government examinations and former director of school education department, appeared in the court and submitted that he was unaware of the incident.
Usilampatti DEO S. Ravikumar submitted that his predecessor J. Saanthamoorthi (now retired) had signed the papers confirming the appointment. Joint director of school education S. Kannappan submitted that the recommendation letters were not found in the files in his office.
Justice Nagamuthu recorded the submissions of the officials and posted the case to September 6 for further hearing.