Rashid Paul

HC issues notice to CS in contempt petition filed by Sheep dev board employees

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Srinagar: The High Court on Thursday issued notice in a contempt petition against the J&K Chief Secretary Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta alleging him of violating court orders that directed release of salary and pensionary benefits to the employees of the erstwhile Sheep and Sheep Products Development Board.

The decision to disband the Board had been taken in February this year.

Petitioner employees had filed the instant contempt petition alleging violation of the court judgment passed on December 09, 2020 in terms whereof the concerned authorities had been directed to implement a government order No. 46-ASH of 2008 dated 24th of March, 2008.

The order called for release of salary/pensionary benefits in favour of the petitioners after viability of the Board is assessed by the Committee to be constituted for the purpose.

The order, according to the petitioners, further directed to the Committee to assess the viability of the Board and submit its report about resources and thereafter service/pensionary benefits of the petitioners shall be released in their favour out of the assessed resources of the Board as also of the government.

Molvi Aijaz, appearing counsel on behalf of petitioners, submitted that instead of implementing the judgment, the respondents “reversed it as if they are sitting in appeal by according sanction to the closure/winding up of the J&K Sheep and Sheep Products Development Board.”

He further submitted that the authorities are also transferring the fixed and movable assets to Directorate of Sheep Husbandry Jammu/Kashmir, with further direction as regards the deployment of the employees to the government departments.

The respondents have also committed contempt, he pleaded saying that it is evident from the compliance report filed in contempt petition bearing CCP(S) No. 103/2021.

“It is stated in the report that there is no need for forming of a fresh committee as most of the issues of the employees, assets, liabilities and funds had been settled once for all,” he said.

He cited paragraph seven of the said compliance report, saying the respondents have stated that providing of pensionary benefits to the petitioners is not possible, as the erstwhile Board was autonomous body having its own and defined resources generation scheme.

Prima facie it appears that respondents have instead of implementing the judgment reversed the same, which amounts to contempt of the court, he argued.

“Before proceeding further, it has become necessary to seek response from the respondents on these issues. Notice for filing statement of facts returnable without four weeks. The respondents shall indicate as to what steps they have taken to implement the judgment after 19th of December, 2020,” directed the bench of Justice A M Magray.

“Government order No. 49-ASH of 2021 dated 1st of March, 2021, to the extent of transfer of assets to Sheep Husbandry Department shall not be given effect,” he directed.

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