JAMMU, Oct 4: In the much publicized Rajouri Development Authority scam, Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Justice D S Thakur and Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta today expressed displeasure/anguish over the lackadaisical approach of Commissioner Secretary Tourism Department, who despite repeated communications from General Administration Department failed to submit his comments to the reply submitted by delinquent officer Javed Ahmed Khan, the then Chief Executive Officer, Rajouri Development Authority (presently Excise Commissioner) against whom departmental enquiry is pending in General Administration Department with regard to the irregularities committed during his tenure as Chief Executive Officer, Rajouri Development Authority.
The Division Bench also made it clear that in case the Tourism Secretary failed to file his personal affidavit within 10 days explaining his position for not rendering assistance and filing comments to the GAD despite receipt of numerous communications then cost of Rs 1 lakh shall be imposed on him.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina, Suraj Singh and Supriya Chouhan appearing for the petitioner whereas Senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekhar appearing for GAD, the Division Bench, in the open court, directed the Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department to finalize the departmental enquiry within four weeks from today. The Division Bench further directed that in case Commissioner Secretary Tourism Department failed to file his affidavit within 10 days he shall also remain personally present on the next date of hearing at his own expenses.
Earlier, Advocate Ahmed drew the attention of the Division Bench towards order dated May 17, 2017 when the Division Bench had directed the General Administration Department to conclude the enquiry against Mohd Javed Khan within four months. “Despite the expiry of four months the enquiry has not been finalized as no status report in this regard has been filed by the GAD”, he added.
“All out attempt is being made to shield the tainted IAS officer who is presently enjoying the prize posting of Excise Commissioner owing to his connections in the corridors of power. The GAD is passing on the buck to the Tourism Department for delaying the enquiry so that influential delinquent officer may reach the age of superannuation”, the counsel for the PIL said.
He produced a landmark judgment of the Apex Court titled Centre for Public Interest Litigation Versus Union of India wherein the Apex Court has ruled that officers facing serious allegations of corruption/abuse of official position should not be given public dealing posts. Advocate Ahmed also placed before the Division Bench a copy of the recent order passed by the Division Bench in a PIL titled Sheikh Mohd Shafi Versus Union of India wherein the Division Bench relying upon the Apex Court order passed a significant order directing the Commissioner Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department to shift Ram Paul, the then MD J&K Housing Board and Aftab Rashid Pandit, DGM Unit-II to some other posts in some other departments till the completion of departmental enquiry against them.
“In the light of the stated position of law directions be issued to the GAD to post Mohd Javed Khan to a non sensitive position so that the confidence of the people is instilled in the impartiality of the ongoing departmental enquiry”, he added.
Senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekhar appearing for GAD submitted that because of non cooperation by the Tourism Department the enquiry could not be finalized. She produced before the Division Bench the copies of the various reminders sent to the Tourism Department evoking no response till date.
She, however, assured the Division Bench that the departmental enquiry will be finalized on receipt of comments from the Tourism Department.