CAT conveys displeasure to GAD over inaction on order passed over 2 yrs back

Jammu: A Srinagar Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) comprising M S Latif (Member Judicial) and Prasant Kumar (Member Administrative) has conveyed displeasure to the General Administration Department (GAD) over non-implementation of order passed more than two years back and made it clear that judicial orders are bound to be obeyed at all costs howsoever grave the effect may be.

History of the case before the CAT is that the applicant Iftikhar Hussain Sheikh was dismissed from service under the provision of Section 126 (2) (c) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir corresponding to Article 311 (2) of Constitution of India and at that time State of J&K was under the spell of Governor Rule.

The order of the dismissal was challenged before the High Court but the writ petition was dismissed. However, in the intra-court appeal in the LPA, the Division Bench of the High Court directed the respondents to proceed against the applicant in accordance with CCA CCS Rule as applicable in State of J&K.

In pursuance of the orders passed in the LPA, applicant was reinstated in service and till his superannuation no enquiry was held. However, he was not given pensionary benefits as such he filed application before the Central Administrative Tribunal, which vide order dated February 4, 2022 issued notices and directed the respondents to consider the representation of the applicant dated January 11, 2022. However, the order of the CAT was not implemented and this compelled the applicant to file Contempt Petition before the Tribunal.

Few days back when the Contempt Petition came up for hearing, CAT observed, “the matter came up before the court on various occasions wherein directions were passed for filing of the compliance report. On October 10, 2023, personal appearance of the Commissioner Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department was sought to explain his position as to why rule is not framed against him for having flouted the direction passed on April 25, 2023 in the first instance”.

“Later, this court took a lenient view in the matter in view of the fact that an official of the rank of a Principal Secretary to Government is more required to serve the genuine grievances of the public rather than to remain present in the courts. It was expected that the needful would be done within a period of three weeks without compelling this court to frame rule”, the CAT further said.

On December 19, 2023, Deputy Advocate General submitted that he has filed his statement of facts but compliance was not filed. Accordingly, time of two weeks was granted to the respondent contemnor to file compliance and it was made clear that further failure will compel the court to seek personal appearance of contemnor.

When the Contempt Petition was listed on February 13, 2024 and March 19, 2024 respectively neither the compliance was filed nor the Commissioner Secretary caused his presence. On the submissions of Deputy Advocate General personal appearance of contemnor was dispensed with but the Tribunal remarked, “such an attitude on the part of respondents would only add pain rather than pleasure as speedy disposal of cases would get seriously hampered”.

Two days back when the matter again came up for hearing, Commissioner Secretary GAD Sanjeev Verma caused appearance through virtual mode from Lucknow and Deputy Advocate General submitted that statement of facts has been filed and pointed out that Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has already submitted the report on October , 2023.

However, the CAT observed, “compliance has not been filed despite directions passed from time to time”. This court is primarily concerned with the implementation of the orders. We reiterate that disobedience of the court orders strikes at the very root of the rule of law on which the judicial system rests”.

“Judicial orders are bound to be obeyed at all costs howsoever grave the effect may be. Non-compliance of judicial orders cannot be permitted to be circumvented”, the CAT further said and granted last opportunity of six weeks to the contemnor to submit the compliance of the order dated February 4, 2022 in its letter and spirit.

“In case the compliance is not submitted the Commissioner Secretary GAD will remain present to assist this court in order to uphold the rule of law. However, in case the order is complied with in its letter and spirit, the personal appearance of the official shall be deemed to have been dispensed with”, read the order passed by the Srinagar Bench of CAT.

Related Articles