HC Quashes SFC Orders Disengaging Grading Assistants, Attendants

   J&K High Court – File Pic

Srinagar: Observing Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday quashed two orders passed by Managing Director J&K State Forest Corporation in February 2012 by virtue of which grading assistants and attendants were disengaged, two years after they were appointed.

The court had already stayed both the orders in March 2012, as a consequence of which the appointees were continuing to discharge their duties in the Corporation.

Allowing a petition filed by aggrieved persons, a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey observed that the principles of natural justice “appear to have been violated with impunity.”

“From the perusal of the pleadings placed on record by both the parties, it can be seen from a naked eye that no opportunity of being heard, as provided under the rules, appears to have been given to the petitioners before issuing the impugned orders of disengagement of (their) services which stood already regularized by the Corporation itself,” court said.

The petitioners, the court observed, have been simply thrown out by two orders of disengagement without following the due procedure of law, “with a premeditated design to divest them of their right of being heard.”

“An opportunity of being heard is the ‘sine-qua-non’ of every order/ decision involving disengagement of the services of Government servants, besides, reasons justifying so, while issuing the order, have to be spelt out in detail,” the court said. However, in the case on hand, the court said that the principles of natural justice appear to have been violated with impunity. “The defence of the petitioners has been scuttled/ shut by deception and the procedure governing the subject has been given a complete go by.”

The courtunderlined that justice was not only law and its administration, but is, in most cases, above law and is done to safeguard an individual from whatever he or she seeks protection. “Our country aims at the goal of achieving a welfare State where everyone is/ has to be, as far as possible, looked after. The principles of natural justice are imbibed from the Constitution itself,” the court said.

The reason for disengaging the petitioners, the court said was that the Corporation was of the view that their services are no longer required. “The rules relating to reasonableness, good faith, justice, equity and good conscience, which are a part of law and relate to administration of justice and fairness, have been followed in breach and, resultantly, it has caused miscarriage of justice,” the court said.

The services of the petitioners were regularized with the approval of the Chairman of the Corporation after passing of the ‘performance test’ on their part, the court said. “The corporation, all of a sudden, could not have unilaterally issued the disengagement orders of the petitioners solely on the ground that the services of the petitioners are no longer required,” the court said and underlined that corporation was obliged under law to give adequate time to the petitioners for seeking their response before disengaging them.

“Given the above circumstances, both these petitions are allowed and, by a ‘Writ of Certiorari’, the impugned orders, viz., SFC Order No. 62 of 2012 dated 24th of February, 2012 and SFC Order No. 63 of 2012 dated 24th of February, 2012 are quashed,” the court said and directed the Corporation to allow the petitioners to continue discharging their services. (GNS)

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