Official non-cooperation results into pendency: HC
For failing to file response in PIL, directs Comr/Sec, Jal Shakti to be present personally
Srinagar: The J&K High Court today directed the Commissioner/Secretary, Jal Shakti Department (formerly Public Health Engineering/Irrigation and Flood Control J&K) to remain present before the court for failing to file his response in a public interest matter.
“The respondents have neither filed the reply nor are they represented before us. In view of the above, let the Commissioner / Secretary to Government, Jal Shakti Department Union Territory of J&K, remain present in person before the court on the next date of hearing”, directed a division bench including Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta.
The bench noted that despite service of advance notices and copies of the petitions, counsels appearing for the official respondents are never prepared to make submissions in opposition, resulting in completely unnecessary delays.
“It appears that no effort is made to obtain instructions from Government departments to assist the Court on the first date of hearing. This is taken for granted that notices would be issued in a routine. No effort is made to oppose the matters”, observed the judges.
“As a consequence, interim orders which have serious repercussions (for instance stays of land acquisition for large infrastructure projects; stay of selection processes which have been conducted after following long procedures; stays of transfers and posting orders; interim protection to encroachers amongst others) results”, they said.
The judges noticed that these cases remain pending for decades and as a result illegalities are perpetuated for decade’s together putting a heavy burden on the public interest as well as public exchequer.
Service of advance copy before filing according to the court means that a counsel representing the respondent authorities is well prepared to assist the Court, a practice followed in courts all over the world.
Dismayed at the official behavior the division bench directed that today’s order in the PIL be served upon the Chief Secretary and the Secretary, Law Department, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The court hoped that this may ensure a more efficient practice is adopted in the interest of government.