Under Whose Authority Is GMC Principal Continuing: HC To Govt

SRINAGAR — Under whose authority and orders is the present incumbent Principal Government Medical College continuing despite quashing of the cabinet order in February this year, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday asked government to reveal. 

As the case came up for hearing before a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Tashi Rabstan, the court was informed that an affidavit has been filed by the Principal Secretary to the Government, Health and Medical Education Department, which reveals that the government was in the process of implementation of the judgment regarding reconsideration of the matter for regular appointment of the Principal Government Medical College, Srinagar. 

However, the court observed that nothing has been stated by the Principal Secretary as to under whose authority and orders the present incumbent Principal Saima Rashid was continuing.

On being pointedly asked under which authority the present Principal is continuing, Additional Advocate General Shah Aamir submitted that the Principal Secretary to the Government Health and Medical Education Department has submitted the case to the General Administration Department in tune with the directions passed by the court and the case was lying with the GAD.

“We requested Javed Iqbal, Sr. AAG, who represents the General Administration Department to have the question answered from the Chief Secretary or the Commissioner Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department, as regards the process of implementation of the judgment for making regular appointment against the post of Principal, Government Medical College, Srinagar where the present incumbent is continuing without any authority as her appointment as such has been quashed by the Court,” the division bench said. Javed Iqbal, sought some time to submit the latest on the issue.

“In the given circumstances, the consideration of the matter is deterred till Friday the 3rt May, 2019,” the court said and listed it on May 3.  

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed Dr. Javeed Chowdhry, seeking proceedings against the authorities for violation of the judgment. He says that the Government as per the judgment passed on February was obliged to make interim arrangement for the post with four weeks from the date of receipt of judgment and remove the present incumbent as her appointment has been quashed by the court.

Observing that arbitrariness is antithetic to equality, the court had quashed an order by the cabinet of erstwhile PDP-BJP government with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in the chair, appointing Saima Rashid and leaving out Javeed Chowdhary as Principal GMC Srinagar.

 “We are constrained to intervene in the matter and therefore hold the Cabinet Decision and consequential Government order, impugned in the writ petition, bad in the eye of law and not sustainable,” the court had said while allowing an appeal filed by senior-most professor Javeed Chowdhary, challenging the appointment of Saima Rashid as the principal of the medical college.

“We have examined the whole record carefully and do not find any reason worth the name that has been recorded by the Cabinet in any corner of the contemporaneous record. The two-line decision to appoint respondent no.6 (Dr Saima Rashid) cannot be justified on any count, particularly when the Establishment-cum-Selection Committee, appointed by it, had on evaluation of whole record, recommended the appellant (Javeed Chowdhary) for appointment as Principal, GMC, Srinagar,” the court had said.

“The writ petition (SWP no.894/2017) is allowed and Cabinet Decision no.50/04/2017 dated 28th April 2017 and Government Order no.252-HME of 2017 dated 8th May 2017, impugned in the writ petition, are quashed,” the court with a direction to the authorities to place the whole material, consisting of minutes of the decision of the Establishment-cum-Selection Committee, before the Cabinet/State Administrative Council (SAC), as the case may be, for its reconsideration.

“Let the Cabinet/SAC take appropriate decision as may be warranted in light of the observations made by us herein above, within a period of four weeks from the date certified copy of this order becomes available to the respondents.”

Till such decision was taken by the Cabinet/SAC, the court had said it shall be open to the Government to make the incharge or temporary arrangement to run the day to day affairs of the office of the Principal, Government Medical College Srinagar.

The court reiterated that it was not for a minute holding or suggesting that the Cabinet could not have taken a decision independent of the recommendations of the Establishment-cum-Selection Committee, but, in doing so, it was constitutionally obliged to record its reasons for dissent with the recommendations of the Committee and for taking a decision independently on the basis of record placed before it.

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