HC: Officers in J&K take court orders ‘casually’, need to learn ‘compliance’

TNN Bureau. Updated: 7/31/2020 11:09:01 AM Front Page

Contempt petition, Rs 1 lakh cost imposed on Secys PSC, H&ME

JAMMU: Noting that court orders are taken ‘casually’ by the officers of the union territory, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday asserted that there is a dire need to inculcate in them the ‘habit of compliance’ as it initiated suo-moto contempt proceedings against Secretary, Health and Medical Department for violations of its orders.
The lack of compliance by the government officers is visible from the sheer number of pending contempt petitions vis-a-vis the cases decided, said the court while listing the instant contempt petition for August 26.
Justice Rajesh Bindal also imposed Rs one Lakh costs on J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) as well as the H&ME Department for their ‘casualness’ while issued notices to Secretaries of both these organisations, seeking details of officers holding these posts when court’s order was violated.
The court was hearing a number of petitions observed challenging selection to the post of Deputy Medical Superintendent advertised vide a notification numbered 16-PSC of 2005 dated 13 October 2005.
“The advertisement in question for the post was issued way back in the year 2005 and after more than 14 years thereafter nothing survives to be adjudicated upon,” said Justice Bindal while dismissing the bunch of pleas, before the court expressed its displeasure at the actions and omissions of JKPSC and H&ME department.
Noting that Secretaries of both JKPSC and H&ME department failed to apprise the Court as to whether there is any other matter, pertaining to same selection, pending before the other Bench, and that this ‘total casualness’ resulted in passing different contradictory orders, the court imposed Rs one lakh costs on Secretary JKPSC and the Health and Medical Education Department.
The court had granted interim stay on the selection process, but the process of selection was completed in violation of its orders.
As the conduct of the Department of Health and Medical Education and J&K Public Service Commission shows that there had been gross violation of the interim orders passed in these cases, “as is the normal attitude of the officers here, not to comply with the court orders,” Justice Bindal said.
“(Thus) I deem it appropriate to issue notice to the Secretary, Department of Health and Medical Education and the Secretary to Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission to show cause as to why proceedings of contempt be not initiated against them for violation of the orders passed by this Court,” he observed at the outset.
The court issued notices to the aforesaid Secretaries asking them to apprise the Court about the names of the persons who were at the helm of affairs at the relevant time when despite interim stay granted by the court, the process of selection was completed.
The court sought an affidavit to be filed before next date of hearing, while making clear that it would be government’s duty to inform the persons so named in the affidavit about this case so that they also put in appearance on the next date of hearing, as separate notices would not be issued to them.
At this juncture, the court decided to initiate a suo-moto contempt petition against the then secretary of H&ME department, who was looking after the affairs of the department when its orders were violated.
“A separate Contempt Petition may be registered titled as Court on its own motion versus Secretary Department of Health and Medical Education, whose names are to be substituted later on,” Justice Bindal ordered.
He noted that the contempt proceedings are necessitated as the court orders are taken too casually by officers in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Suo-moto contempt proceedings have been initiated in the case in hand for the reason that there is a dire need to inculcate the habit of complying with the Court orders in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which otherwise are taken too casually,” Justice Bindal said.
“It is evident from the number of Contempt Petitions pending in this Court vis-a-vis the cases decided,” he added and directed Registry to list the contempt petition on 26 August 2020.
The court directed that a copy of its order be also sent to Chief Secretary and Secretary Law of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for necessary ‘corrective action’.
“Intimation of the order passed in the present contempt petition and issuance of notice for contempt be sent to the aforesaid two Secretaries by the Registry of this Court through e-mail,” it said before parting with the order.

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