HC issues warrant against Director Tourism

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Dec 29:  Taking serious note on casual approach of higher ups in Tourism Department on Court directions, High Court today issued warrant against its Director to be executed through Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar.
Facing contempt proceedings, the Director Tourism was directed to show cause as to why he shall not be punished for contempt of Court order, instead remaining present before the Court for today’s proceedings, he filed application seeking exemption of personal appearance while as he was supposed to answer as to why not be punished for disobeying the Court orders.
Farah Bashir, Counsel for the petitioner submitted before the Court of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey that the grounds  taken in the application seeking exemption from personal appearance are not sufficient.
She also added that  not only the Director was having the knowledge of the Court order dated 28.11.2017 but also the Secretary to Tourism Department  being  the party respondent to contempt petition was also having the knowledge then how the Secretary deputed the Director to Bangalore and Hyderabad  for participation in National Road Show.
“Admittedly, the respondents  were having the knowledge of the order before one month but are not avoiding appearance or also delaying the  implementation of the Court judgment dated 01.03.2016, therefore, in terms of settled position of law, they have further committed contempt of the Court”, Justice Magrey recorded.
Court, as such, directed Registrar Judicial to issue bailable warrants in the amount of Rs.20,000 to seek personal appearance of Director on the next date of hearing. “Warrants shall be executed by SSP, Srinagar who in case fails to execute the warrant shall appear  on the next date of hearing”, Justice Magrey said.
Court has also expressed serious concern on the approach of the Secretary Tourism Department with the observation that despite having knowledge of Court direction how did he allow the Director to attend the event. “He too has prima facie opted  the line of avoiding appearance and showing disrespect  to the Court orders.”
“In order to ensure strengthening of the faith and confidence of the public in judicial system, with other protections,  to preserve the dignity and honour of the Court, it has become necessary to seek appearance of Director by adhering the coercive method”, Court said.
Court also directed the Secretary to Tourism Department  to explain on affidavit as to how he has deputed  the officer to attend  an event without seeking his exemption  in advance when he was knowing  that the officer  has to appear in the Court on 29.12.2017.  “In case the Secretary fails to explain the position he shall also remain present in the court”, read the order.
Rule has already been framed against the direction for committing the contempt of Court, Court on disrespect of its orders further added that one fails to understand  as to why should the officers  of the State choose to avoid appearance in the Court of law when required  and instead choose to attend other events in and outside the State.
“Does it form a ground for an officer to seek exemption, when he was already knowing it well that he has to appear before the Court of law today.   The Director  has not sought permission of the Court in advance  before he could go to attend the event”, Court said adding: “Same is position of Secretary even who too was knowing it in advance that the Director in the contempt matter has to appear before the Court”.
Not stopping here Court held the Government responsible for this act and said Government has choice to send  other officer of equal rank and status working  in the Department of Tourism to attend the National  event, when the Director is reportedly a  KAS officer holding the post of Director Tourism Kashmir  and his counterpart  is an equivalent officer working as Director Tourism, Jammu why should the  Secretary Tourism depute the Director Tourism  Kashmir  that too when is required to appear in a Court matter and not Director Tourism Jammu or any other officer.
Authorities including Director was directed to consider the case of the petitioner-Mohammad Toyyab Leharwal for his adjustment against the post in question on the analogy of other candidate and take a decision thereon within a period of one month.
Instead of implementing the judgment as the Court had directed, Director in its reply appeared to have discussed the entitlement of the petitioner with reference to the post being 100 percent direct recruitment post and to be filled up on the recommendation of SSB.
Court in this connection has recorded that Director had no authority to discuss the entitlement of the petitioner with reference to the method of recruitment provided for filling up the post when this Court, had already on consideration of the matter had directed him to adopt the analogy of other candidate and adjust the petitioner against the post in question.
“It was beyond the authority of Director, Tourism to reject the claim of the petitioner on a ground which was not available to him in strict terms of the judgment. The final order passed by this court had not made the adjustment of the petitioner conditional having reference to his eligibility in accordance with rules but had in categorical terms asked him to follow the analogy adopted”, Justice Magrey said.