Govt to reinstate 9 officers declared as ‘deadwood’ in 2015

GAD, Law Secys submit details before HC

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 23: After a long drawn legal battle, the PDP-BJP Coalition Government has decided to reinstate nine officers, who were declared as ‘deadwood’ in 2015. However, Government will challenge the judgment of Division Bench of State High Court in five cases before the Supreme Court.
In respect of 10 similar cases, final decision has yet not been taken because of difference of opinion between a high-level committee headed by the Commissioner Secretary to Government, General Administration Department and Advocate General of the State.
The officers involved in these 24 cases were among 63, whose services were terminated by the present Coalition Government in the month of July 2015, on the recommendations of a high-level committee headed by the then Chief Secretary and comprising of the then Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Home Secretary, Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department and Law Secretary.
However, in almost all these cases the terminated officers challenged the decision of the Government in the court of law on various grounds and in majority of the cases the State High Court found lacunas in the decision of the Government and ordered quashment of the compulsory retirements along with reinstatement.
Thereafter, the Government after obtaining opinion from the Law Department challenged the decision of the Single Judge before the Division Bench of the State High Court by filing different LPAs. But it had to face major embarrassment in almost all the cases as the highest court of the State upheld the judgment of Single Judge and ordered reinstatement of the terminated officers.
Though in certain cases the State even went to the Supreme Court challenging the verdict of the Division Bench of State High Court yet it had to face humiliation there also. Despite losing legal battle, the Government was not showing seriousness in ensuring compliance of the judicial orders regarding reinstatement of the terminated officers and this led to filing of a number of contempt petitions in the High Court.
In December last year, Justice Alok Aradhe, while hearing contempt petitions, had observed, “no proceeding is pending before any court of law. The orders passed by this court have attained finality as the Division Bench of this court has already upheld the orders”.
Accordingly, Justice Aradhe had directed the respondents to submit a compliance report or produce appropriate orders from the Supreme Court failing which Commissioner Secretary to Government, General Administration Department shall appear in person to explain the reasons behind delay in ensuring compliance of the orders.
Following this, a high-level committee headed by GAD Secretary and comprising of Law Secretary, Administrative Secretaries of the concerned departments and Law Officer(s) representing the compulsory retirement cases in the High Court held deliberations in respect of 24 cases in which Government lost legal battle before the highest court of the State, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
The committee after hectic deliberations forwarded its recommendations to the Advocate General, who agreed with the decision of GAD Secretary headed panel in respect of 14 cases. However, in respect of 10 cases his opinion was different from that of the high-level committee, sources said.
When the contempt petitions came up for hearing today, it was submitted before Justice Alok Aradhe that Government has decided to reinstate nine officers with immediate effect while as in respect of five other officers Government will file Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the Division Bench of the State High Court.
It was also submitted before the High Court that decision in respect of 10 other cases would be taken in near future and the same would also be placed before the High Court in due course of time. Commissioner Secretary of General Administration Department and Secretary Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs were personally present in the court along with the details in respect of 24 cases.
“The Government will issue formal orders of reinstatement of nine officers within a day or two”, official sources said, adding “there are grim chances of Government getting any relief from the Supreme Court in those cases in which SLP is being filed before the Apex Court of the country”.
The decision about reinstatement of nine officers has put a big question mark on the exercise conducted by a high-level committee headed by the then Chief Secretary, which formed the basis of the decision about compulsory retirement of officers and officials in 2015, sources said.