PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court ordered the elementary and secondary education department to fill the post of headmaster at a high school in Dir Lower, lying vacant for the last over six years, within three months.

A bench consisting of Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar and Justice Shahid Khan issued the direction while disposing of a petition filed by a resident of Laram village of Adenzai tehsil in Dir Lower, Zar Naseem Khan. He challenged the non-filling of the post of headmaster at Government High School Laram.

The bench directed the department to fill the post on a priority basis as the same had been lying vacant since March 5, 2018, when the then headmaster had retired, preferably within a period of three months with intimation to the additional registrar of the high court.

The respondents in the petition were Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through secretary elementary and secondary education, director elementary and secondary education, district education officer and deputy commissioner Dir Lower.

Petitioner states the post has been lying vacant for over six years

Advocate Said Rahman appeared for the petitioner and stated that the instant petition was filed in public interest. He said that a few years ago, the middle school in Laram was upgraded to a high school for the facilitation of young boys of the area. However, he stated that the headmaster of the school retired in 2018 and since then it had been run without its head.

He claimed that the issue was presented time and again before the relevant authorities but to no avail. He said that the seriousness of the relevant department could be judged from the fact that presently a total of 36 high schools and 12 higher secondary schools were working without headmasters.

The counsel contended that keeping the post of headmaster vacant was against the relevant rules as well as Constitution of Pakistan.

He added that Article 25-A of the Constitution guaranteed education to all children and the department was bound to provide all the required staff to schools.

He stated that the required goals couldn’t be achieved due to non-appointment of the headmaster. He added that huge budget was released to education department, but preference was mostly given to construction of buildings, purchase of furniture and other items, but interest was not taken in filling of vacant posts.

Haq Nawaz Khan, an additional advocate general, appeared for the government and also submitted comments on behalf of district education officer (male), Dir Lower.

The DEO, in his comments, admitted that the post had been lying vacant, but stated that a secondary school teacher (SST), Mohammad Hakeem, was working as head of the said school.

He stated that the vacant post would be filled after fresh recruitment or promotion. He said that other teaching staff was available in the school imparting proper education to students.

He also requested the court to reject the petition as the petitioner was not an aggrieved person and the petition was not maintainable.

The petitioner’s counsel stated that his client would be satisfied if the respondent (DEO) abided by the statement he made in his comments about filling the post.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2024

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