Unfair working of SVO

RDA scam:

HC treats petition as PIL and refers it to Division Bench

Srinagar, Aug 17, CNS:  In a significant order Justice B.S. Walia of Jammu and Kashmir High Court (Jammu Wing) after hearing petitioner in person Prof. S.K. Bhalla treated the writ petition as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and directed the Registry to place this matter before the Division Bench of the State High Court in the next regular cause list.

When the petition came up for hearing Prof. S.K. Bhalla submitted that the writ petition highlights gross abuse of process of law by the officers of J&K State Vigilance Organization as an established case of bungling/corruption in Rajouri Development Authority in which the then Director Vigilance had initially approved registration of formal case against the suspect public servants was converted arbitrarily into censure merely on oblique considerations just in order to shield the influential officers of Rajouri Development Authority. He further submitted that the SVO succumbed to the pressure generated by the suspect public servants and he further laid stress that the whole matter be monitored by this Court till the same is finalized as the suspect public servants are highly influential and can derail the investigation.

Prof. S.K. Bhalla according to CNS appearing in person further submitted that one of the prime suspects in the scam is Muhammad Javed Khan (IAS) the then Chief Executive Officer, Rajouri Development Authority presently posted as Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar and the names of other suspect public servants are also required to be made public and forwarded to the Chief Secretary of the State who is heading the Committee for identifying deadwoods.

The petitioner further submitted that the instant case is just a tip of the ice-berg about the unfair working of SVO as whenever a big fish is caught, the matters are buried either by recommending Regular Departmental Action (RDA) or censure and children of lesser God are booked for criminal prosecution. Prof. Bhalla further submitted that he has reliably learnt that the then Director Vigilance Sheikh Owais Ahmed (IPS) got superannuated on June, 30, 2015 and the present case was converted from FIR to censure on June, 10, 2015 under his seal and signatures and the same Director has approved registration of formal case against the suspect public servants on March, 26, 2015 and what transpired between March, 26, 2015 to June, 10, 2015 is a million dollar question and needs to be thoroughly investigated.

The petitioner in person vociferously argued that he has come to know that there was free for all situation in SVO during the preceding three months prior to the superannuation of Sheikh Owais Ahmed (IPS) and the petitioner has already moved an RTI Application seeking entire records of the outcome of the Verifications/PEs during the last three months when aforesaid Director was in service and the petitioner has inputs that various established cases of corruption against high-ups were buried under the carpet for oblique considerations by the said Director for his future prospects and all this is a matter of inquest.

After considering the submissions of Prof. S.K. Bhalla, Justice B.S. Walia observed that the instant petition involves element of public interest and referred Notification No.761 dated 19-10-2011 also called Writ Proceeding Rules, 1997 dealing with the procedure relating to “Writ Petition in Public Interest”.

Justice B.S. Walia also referred Rule 24(3)(f) of the Writ Proceedings Rules, 1997 which speaks of gross abuse of process of law by those who under law have a duty to enforce or administer law and observed that the relief claimed in the instant petition is in public interest and the same is required to be heard by the Division Bench hearing Public Interest Litigations and directed the Registry to list this petition as PIL before the Division Bench of the State High Court in the next regular cause list. (CNS) 

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