Srinagar, Aug 16: In a significant direction, High Court has put on hold the process of selection for the appointment of members of Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) and Child Welfare Committee (CWCs) for Jammu and Kashmir.
The present members of JJB and CWC who are 94 in number from various district of Kashmir and Jammu Divisions have challenged the advertisement notices issued on 01.08.2022 whereunder the authorities have advertised posts of members of Juvenile Justice Board, chairperson and members of Child Welfare Committee and social worker in each district of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to senior counsel, Z A Shah, the petitioners came to be appointed after subjecting them to a process of selection against the positions in question and have been manning the positions pursuant to the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act and Rules.
Initially the term of their appointment is stated to have been of three years which came to be extended for further term of one year in terms of Government order No. 13 – SW – 2021 dated 27.01.2021.
It was being contended that they became eligible and entitled to re-appointment upto three consecutive terms based on the performance appraisal to be made by the selection cum oversight committee under and in terms of Rule 4 of Rules 2014 and further that the petitioners in terms of said Rule became eligible to seek re – appointment and continue, in all, for a period of nine years, subject to the aforesaid assessment / appraisal.
Court was informed that despite the presence and protection provided by the Jammu and Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) order, 2019, the respondents issued impugned advertisement notices under and in terms of new Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, of 2015 read with Rules of 2016.
The fallout of the said advertisement notices notifying the positions occupied by the petitioners in essence is stated to affect their rights and privileges protected under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) order, 2019.
The petitioners in the process are stated to be replaced and substituted without addressing to their claim of re – appointment up to three consecutive terms. “In the meanwhile, subject to objections and till next date of hearing, respondents shall refrain from proceeding ahead with the process of selection pursuant to the advertisement notices 01 SC (MV) of 2022 dated 01.08.2022 and 02 SC (MV) of 2022 dated 01.08.2022”, Justice Javed Iqbal Wani directed.
The counsel appearing for respondent-authorities entered his appearance in the matter and while opposing the contentions raised by Advocate Shah submitted that the petitioners who are presently holding the posts in question have no right, much less one recognized under law to remain in place and to hold the positions upon coming into force of the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 and Rules of 2016 framed thereunder , where-under the impugned advertisement notices have been issued .
The court after having regard to the nature of controversy involved in the matter and coupled with the submissions made by the appearing counsel for the parties said there appears to be substance in the submissions made by advocate Shah at this stage carving out a case for grant of indulgence as such put the process of fresh selection on hold till next date of hearing.
Court has meantime sought objections from Commissioner/Secretary to Social Welfare Department, Director General Ministry of Women and Child Development Srinagar, Mission Director Srinagar and Member Secretary Selection Committee Srinagar.