Govt fails to prepare roadmap to end adhoc promotions despite explicit directives of HC

Committee of officers dilly-dallying on suggesting way forward
Practice leading to litigations, demoralizing employees
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, June 12: Even after explicit directions of the High Court, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has failed to prepare a roadmap in order to bring an end to the practice of making adhoc promotions in various departments, which otherwise is leading to avoidable litigations and demoralizing other employees.
This is mainly because a committee of bureaucrats, which was assigned the task of examining the issues/bottlenecks and propose way forward, has not submitted its report during the past six months.
The issue of adhoc promotions came to the notice of High Court in the shape of Writ Petition (Civil) No.946/2020 titled “Ghulam Hassan Rather Versus Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir” and Division Bench comprising of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal vide judgment dated August 4, 2020 issued slew of directions for bringing an end to the practice of adhoc promotions.
“What is seen in the then State of Jammu and Kashmir and now the Union Territory is that the judgment of Supreme Court in Suraj Prakash Gupta’s case passed in 2000 is being complied with less and violated more, as practically in all the departments, promotions are being made on incharge basis”, the Division Bench had observed.
“How an employee, who is substantively working on the lowest post, can be given the charge of a highest post in the department without there being regular promotions. These employees continue working on that post for years together and whenever any transfer is sought to be made, they approach the court and persuade to grant interim relief and as a result of that continue on the same position for years together”, the DB had wondered.
It was also mentioned in the judgment that the course adopted by the different departments is generating avoidable litigations as many of the employees approach the court raising the plea that they are senior to the person who has been given charge of some higher post.
“Not only this, such a course also demoralizes other employees in the department. The duties, which are required to be discharged by senior and experienced persons, are being handed over to the juniors. Another facet of this system is that the employees already in service don’t let the posts of direct recruitment filled up and usurp the same by adopting this system”, the DB had further observed, adding “with this practice being followed, the very object of having fresh talent at different levels in the department is defeated”.
As per the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Suraj Parkash Gupta, the Government was supposed to constitute a high-level committee to examine the entire issue. However, non-compliance to the directions of the Apex Court received sharp criticism from the Division Bench of the High Court, which finally reiterated the directions of the Supreme Court and sought the response of the Chief Secretary and the Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department.
Four months after being reprimanded by the High Court, the General Administration Department vide Order No.1172 dated December 31, 2020 constituted a committee of officers for proposing a roadmap/way forward for putting an end to the practice of making adhoc promotions in various Government departments of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The committee comprising of Administrative Secretaries of Finance, Public Works, General Administration, Jal Shakti, ARI and Trainings and Law Departments was also asked to examine the reasons behind prevalent and continuing system of making adhoc promotions in the Government departments and examine the issues/bottlenecks confronted by the departments in making regular promotions.
As per the Government order, the committee was supposed to submit its report within a period of four weeks but despite lapse of six months the same is awaited, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding “it is claimed that committee has held certain meetings but six months was sufficient time to complete the assigned task especially in the light of the fact that adhoc promotions are continuously leading to litigations”.
“Due to dilly-dallying approach on the part of the committee of bureaucrats the Supreme Court’s directions passed in 2000 and that of Division Bench of the High Court have remained unimplemented”, sources regretted.