SRINAGAR The High Court (HC) on Monday ordered the suspension of 16 officials of Handwara division of Public Health Engineering (PHE) on charges of malpractices and their failure to supply safe drinking water to people.
The Court also directed Vigilance Organization of Kashmir (VoK) to reveal names of Handwara officials who have been booked for fraudulent means. The directions came in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which was filed by journalist, Javaid Zargar, in 2014 accusing the PHE division Handwara of supplying impure water to the inhabitants.
The HC had taken strict notice of the PIL and directed the suspension of 16 officials till the investigations were over. The case was heard by Chief Justice Gitta Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe. The Court directed VoK to reveal names of the officials, who according to the vigilance organisation, have been booked for their fraud in the department.
The Bench also directed the VoK to speed up the investigation of a case and asked it to file the status report before the next date of hearing on 27 November. The Chief Justice also fined PHE Handwara, Health department Handwara, Pollution Control Board, Fisheries Department, Horticulture and Geology and Mining department with Rs 5000 each for their failure to file status report before the court till 31 May.
The Court has also asked the petitioner to remain present on the next date of hearing and guide the court in this regard. Senior Advocate Aijaz Ahmad Chasti, pleaded the case of petitioner and brought to the notice of the Court the malpractices of the officials as well as the inability of the PHE department to supply safe drinking water to people.
The HC directions came even as officials said that the PHE division Handwara has given prize postings to the officials who were suspended earlier for different malpractices.
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