Issue Of Daily Wagers In Judiciary: Our Orders ‘Brazenly Violated’,Says HC

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday came down heavily on government on failure to delink issue of daily wagers of judiciary with other government departments, terming it as ‘brazen violation’ of its orders.

Observing that government action amounts to contempt, the court ordered personal appearance of commissioner secretary law and finance department to be present before it on March 23.

“We feel that the orders of this Court are either misunderstood or are deliberately and intentionally not being complied with. Despite there being a clear direction for delinking of the daily wagers of the Judiciary i.e. High Court and the District Judiciary, the respondents are still mixing them with the daily wagers of other government departments,” said a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad and M K Hanjura.

“ The approach adopted, therefore, prima faciedepicts not only a brazen violation of the orders of this Court but amounts to contempt of the court also. Thus, before issuing Rule against the respondents, it shall be appropriate to provide them an opportunity to explain as to why the orders of the court are not being implemented,” the court said and asked Commissioner-Secretary to Government, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Finance Department to appear in person to explain the reasons of failure on the next date of hearing. “In the meanwhile, respondents are at liberty to issue the compliance orders,” the court said and posted the matter for further consideration on March 22. 

The directions by the court followed submissions by Additional Advocate General M. I. Dar, that he has instructions on behalf of Secretary to the Government Law Department to submit that the issue with reference to the regularization of daily wagers stands linked with the Policy of the Government notified in terms of SRO 520 of 2017 on December 21 last year and “there is no need of implementing the orders regarding the creation of posts for the High Court and the District Judiciary as requisitioned and observed in various orders” from 8 September 2017.

Government advocate Sheikh Umar Farooq, representing Finance submitted that the department’s role will come into play only when the proposal was sent by the Law Department for the creation of requisite number of posts. 

On March 7, the Court had directed Finance Department to take a final call on the matter related to daily-wagers working in judiciary, underling that the government was unnecessarily linking it to daily wagers of other departments. 

With regard to the daily rated workers working in the State Judiciary, the Court had in its order dated 17 December 2016 noted the observations of the Supreme Court: “It is unfortunate in our view, that the State Government has allowed the requirements of the State Judiciary to be neglected over such a long period of time. The need to facilitate the proper functioning of the High Court and the district judiciary is a constitutional  necessity  which   imposes  a  non-negotiable obligation on the State Government to create an adequate number of posts and to provide sufficient infrastructure. The State Government is to blame for the unfortunate situation which has resulted in a large number of persons being recruited on a daily wage basis.”

Based upon the observations, the high court, in its order dated 17.12.2016 required the State Government to respond to the SC observations. “The matter has gone on since then on several occasions and there is no concrete outcome. In our order dated 03.07.2017, we had, after taking note of the Supreme Court’s strong observations, reiterated that the need to facilitate proper functioning of the High Court and the District Judiciary is a constitutional necessity which imposes a non- negotiable obligation on the State Government to create an adequate number of posts and to provide sufficient infrastructure. We also reiterate the Supreme Court’s observation that the State Government was to blame for the unfortunate situation which has resulted in a large number of persons being recruited on a daily wage basis,” the court had said, adding, “Unfortunately, the respondents have not understood the full meaning and purport of the Supreme Court’s observation and the directions given by this Court from time to time.”

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