Suspended Kashmiri lecturer appears before inquiry committee, produces leave application, other documents

Zahoor Ahmad Bhat was suspended days after appearing before the Supreme Court in favour of Article 370

Updated - September 01, 2023 07:37 pm IST

Published - September 01, 2023 07:36 pm IST - SRINAGAR

A Kashmiri lecturer, who was suspended days after appearing before the Supreme Court in favour of Article 370, presented himself before the committee constituted by the Lieutenant Governor’s (L-G) administration, official sources said. The lecturer provided the committee with his leave application, station permission and other documents before appearing in the case.

Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, a senior lecturer of Political Science, confirmed to The Hindu that he appeared before Subah Mehta, Joint Director, School Education, Jammu, on Thursday as part of an inquiry. “I do not want to talk more about it,” Mr. Bhat said.

Mr. Bhat was examined by Ms. Mehta for around an hour. On August 25, the L-G administration called for “an in-depth inquiry into the conduct of the delinquent officer”. Four days before the government action, Mr. Bhat, having a law degree, appeared for himself and highlighted “unconstitutional and undemocratic” methods used to abrogate provisions of Article 370 on August 5, 2019 by the Centre.

Mr. Bhat has produced before the inquiry committee the two-day leave application, where he had sought permission to visit New Delhi for August 22 and 23. “That I have to attend my case in the Supreme Court on August 22, 2023. I need casual leave for this purpose,” the leave application reads.

Meanwhile, the principal of the Boys Higher Secondary school, Jawahar Nagar, informed the Director, School Education, that Mr. Bhat forwarded the leave application and station permission to the Chief Education Officer, Srinagar, with a copy to his office for further necessary action. “Mr. Bhat resumed his duties back on August 24, 2023,” the principal’s report reads. 

Without citing any case, the School Education Department had accused Mr. Bhat of “violation of provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations, Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Conduct Rules, and Jammu and Kashmir Leave Rules”.

Certificate of excellence

Mr. Bhat, official sources said, apprised the inquiry officer about the work he has done to promote democracy and contribute to the education system. He received a certificate of excellence in 2018 for being part of the government’s free coaching programme for students appearing for civil services examination, including Kashmir Administrative Services and Indian Administrative Services.

Official sources said the administration is also verifying the credentials of Mr. Bhat and his past conduct.

The Supreme Court on August 28 asked the Attorney General of India to look into the suspension of the senior Kashmiri lecturer from his job by the Jammu and Kashmir administration in close succession of his arguing his challenge to the abrogation of Article 370 before the court.  

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