Rashid Paul

HC raps Chief Engineer I&FC for disobeying court orders

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Directs stopping his salary

Srinagar, May 27: The J&K High Court on Monday directed stopping payment of salary to Chief Engineer, Irrigation & Flood Control (I&FC), Kashmir for non-compliance of court orders regarding regularization of the service of an employee in the department.

The court while hearing a service writ petition titled Tahira Banu versus State, directed that “the release of pay shall be stopped in favour of the Chief Engineer, I&FC Department (Ashok Kumar Sharma), Kashmir, Srinagar till further orders”.

Further, the court directed that Commissioner Secretary I&FC Department, “to report compliance on the matter by Monday next week failing which same orders will be followed in his case” and listed the case for hearing on third day of the next month.

The court order related to the regularization of the services of Tahira Banu who had been engaged many years ago by the department on need-basis after serving for almost two-and-half years in the department.

She later approached the court which ordered the Chief Engineer I&FC to regulars her services. However, the department failed to comply with the court orders which invoked contempt proceedings against the officer.

As the case came up for hearing, the Chief Engineer was present personally in the court and his counsel submitted before the bench that the matter is under active consideration of the government i.e. Commissioner Secretary, I&FC Department, Civil Secretariat, Srinagar.

It is mentionable that the department has approached the apex court challenging the contempt orders.

The court while noticing delay in implementation of the orders had earlier granted time to the department to either submit the orders of the Supreme Court in the SLP having bearing on the decision of the contempt or to submit compliance.

The court expressed its anguish saying “more than two months have passed since, yet no response is filed”.

The court order dated back to 24.12.2014 in SWP 109/2008, (having achieved finality after disposal of the appeal by Division Bench of this court on 05.05.2015), is sought to be implemented in the instant contempt petition with further prayer that respondents officers be punished for the contempt of the court.

Perusal of the proceedings reveal that the notice in the contempt petition was issued on 28.12.2015, thereafter the state counsel appeared for the respondents on 16.4.2016 and sought two weeks’ time to file statement of facts/compliance.

On 7.5.2016, when the statement of facts was considered by the court, it found that the respondents evaded to implement the order while waiting for the decision of the appeal in the Supreme Court.

Therefore, the counsel for the respondents was given time to submit compliance before framing rule against the respondents.

The court recorded “during these four years, as and when this contempt was taken up, the approach of the state counsel was to delay the implementation citing pendency of time-barred appeal along with condoning of delay application bearing number 1108/2015 and thereafter a Review petition filed by the respondents”.

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