Jammu: In a significant order Justice B.S. Walia of Jammu Kashmir High Court (Jammu Wing) in the much publicized writ petition filed by Prof. S.K. Bhalla seeking registration of FIR against 3 Ex-Speakers of J&K Legislative Assembly for making 37 illegal appointments in the J&K Legislative Assembly Secretariat, in the open court directed Inspector General of Police State Vigilance Organization (SVO) to file Action Taken Report (ATR) in terms of order dated December, 3, 2015 by way of affidavit before the next date of hearing. On December, 3, 2015 the State High Court had directed IGP Vigilance Organization to take a final call in the matter in view of the findings arrived at the preliminary enquiry conducted by Vigilance Organization wherein it was established that no procedure was followed by the 3 Ex-Speakers while making 37 appointments in the J&K Legislative Assembly. It was concluded by SVO that 28 appointments were made by the then Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, 5 appointments were made by then Speaker Tara Chand and 4 appointments were made by then Speaker Mubarak Gul. The SVO in its findings also concluded that due procedure of law was not followed while making such appointments and only precedences were relied upon and appointments were made on pick and choose basis.
On Thursday when this writ petition came up for hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocate Irfaan Mohammad Khan appearing for the petitioner Prof. S.K. Bhalla drew the attention of the Court to the status report filed by IGP Vigilance wherein it was divulged that after the conclusion of the preliminary enquiry the matter has been referred to the Law Department for obtaining opinion in terms of J&K Government Business Rules looking into the questions of law involved in the matter.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that the Law Department has declined to give the opinion in the matter and has requested IGP Vigilance to take a decision in the matter at his own level. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the SVO is unnecessarily delaying the matter primarily for the reason that the 3 Ex-Speakers are in the net and sought appropriate directions to the SVO to take a final call in the matter in view of the findings arrived at during the preliminary inquiry.
Senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekher appearing for the State Vigilance Organization submitted that the final call could not be taken by the IGP Vigilance as some more documents in this matter were supplied by the petitioner and a fresh complaint was also received by SVO in this matter from a RTI Activist which is under probe. Senior AAG further submitted that she is not in a position to controvert the statement made by Advocate S.S. Ahmed that the Law Department has refused to give opinion in the matter.
After considering the submissions of both the sides Justice B.S. Walia according toCNS observed in the open court that Senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekher is not in a position to controvert the statement made by the counsel for the petitioner and she undertakes that in the eventuality of statement of the counsel for the petitioner being correct, action taken by the IGP Vigilance Organization in terms of order dated December, 3, 2015 would be placed on record by way of affidavit before the adjourned date of hearing i.e. week commencing May, 30, 2016.
Earlier the SVO had closed the case with regard to 37 appointments made by 3 Ex-Speakers and the petitioner Prof. S.K. Bhalla challenged the closure of the case before the State High Court and it was on April, 16, 2015, Justice Janak Raj Kotwal in a significant order rejected the closure of the case by the SVO and issued directions for a deno enquiry within a period of two months and also directed SVO to file the compliance report alongwith the findings of the preliminary enquiry.
On July, 6, 2015, the State Vigilance Organization filed a status report in the State High Court and placed on record the preliminary enquiry report wherein startling revelations were made with regard to 37 appointments in J&K Legislative Assembly. The SVO divulged that the 3 Ex-Speakers Mohammad Akbar Lone, Tara Chand and Mubarak Gul made 37 appointments on pick and choose basis without adopting any criteria and no advertisement notice was issued before filling up the said posts. (CNS)
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