HC directs Govt to pay Rs 4.5 cr for salaries of Judicial Officers

Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, July 30: Division Bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice N P Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi today directed the State Government to release Rs 4.5 crore for payment of salary to 38 Judicial Officers and their staff, who are without salaries for the past six months.
Taking suo-moto cognizance of the fact that 38 Additional and Special Mobile Magistrates, who were appointed with the sole objective of helping in reducing the pendency of cases, are without salary since April this year, the DB issued notices to Chief Secretary and Law Department for their response and compliance report to be filed by next date of hearing—August 4.
It is pertinent to mention here that EXCELSIOR in its edition dated June 22 had exclusively highlighted that 38 Additional and Special Mobile Magistrates were craving for justice despite playing vital role in providing justice to the litigants by disposing of those cases, which are pending for a long period.
“Considering all the aspects as well as the hardships faced by the Judicial Officers and the staff in not getting their salary from March 2015 onwards, a direction is issued to the State of Jammu and Kashmir to release a sum of Rs 4.5 crore for payment of the salary to 38 Presiding Officers of Additional/ Special Mobile Magistrates and the staff attached to these Courts on or before 03.08.2015”, directed the bench.
These 38 courts of Additional/Special Mobile Magistrates were created under the Award of 13th Finance Commission for improving justice delivery system by reducing the number of pending cases. Actually, 13th Finance Commission had directed for establishment of morning and evening courts but keeping in view the climatic and topographical condition of the State, the J&K Government decided to establish courts of Additional/Special Mobile Magistrates.
“These courts were created by Government Order No. 929-LD(A) of 2012 dated 27.02.2012 and GO No. 2011-LD(A) of 2012 dated 20.06.2012. The Government of   India  has  stopped  funding  under  the scheme namely 14th Finance Commission due to which from March 2015, the Judicial Officers as well as the staff working in these courts are not getting their salary”, reads the court order.
Despite the follow-up action taken at the Registry level to get the salary of the Judicial Officers and the staff released, till date no amount has been sanctioned for paying salary. The salary amount required for the Judicial Officers as well as the staff for the financial year 2015-2016 has been worked out at Rs 10, 38, 97,152.  “As per the information furnished by the Registry of this court, a sum of Rs 86,58,096 is required as monthly salary and an amount of Rs 4,32,90,480 is required to be paid as pending salary to the Judicial Officers and the court staff for five months from March 2015 to July 2015”, the DB observed.
“The necessity of creating the Special Mobile Magistrate courts due to pendency of thousands of cases and the continuance of these courts for disposal of the cases pending are not in dispute. Speedy justice to litigants as well as the victims are guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India which is the responsibility of the State. The rights are equally applicable to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir State in terms of Section 10 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir”, DB said, adding “payment of salary to the Judicial Officers and the court staff who are rendering justice to the litigants has to be given top priority by the State Government”.
“The State Government cannot shirk its responsibility on the alleged plea of want of funds. It is well settled proposition of law declared by Supreme Court that it is the responsibility of the person running the administration to find out the source to extend the guaranteed rights of the citizens”, reads the order.

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