HC quash premature retirement of Director General Libraries

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Jammu Tawi, December 14
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey of J&K High Court Srinagar Wing quashed the premature retirement order of Shamim Ahmad Laherwal who, at the relevant time, was functioning as Director, General, Libraries and Research.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey after hearing petitioner in person whereas AAG MA Beigh for the state observed that the petitioner challenge is the Government order no.870-GAD of 2015 dated 30.06.2015 issued by the Commissioner / Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 226(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Regulations, 1956 giving notice to the petitioner, who, at the relevant time, was functioning as Director, General, Libraries and Research, J&K, that he, having already rendered 22 years of service, shall retire with effect from the forenoon of 01.07.2015.
Court further observed that the the petitioner in the petition has counted his positives over the years. His case is that he all along his service performed his duties with utmost honesty, integrity and dedication which earned him the reputation of an officer of high merit which is evidenced by the fact that in his Annual Confidential Reports (APRs), written by varied officers under whom he had the occasion to work, he has all along been categorised as “outstanding” or “very good” and that, more importantly, he has never earned an adverse APR. Based upon his merit, integrity and such APRs, he rose through ranks, by having been granted promotions at different levels, somuch so at the time of issuance of the impugned order he was holding the post of Director General, Libraries and Research – a post equivalent in rank to that of a Commissioner/Secretary to Government – and was due for next higher promotion as Principal Secretary to Government and further pleaded that there is no case of criminal nature involving allegations of corruption lodged or registered against him. It is also averred that the petitioner has regularly been submitting his annual property returns to the competent authority, reflecting the details of his immovable/moveable properties held or acquired by him or his family. It is stated that ostensibly the Government had decided to place the cases of those Government servants before the High Level Committee for review who were involved in corruption and trap cases; or had been found in possession of properties beyond their known sources of income; or were found involved in other miscellaneous illegal activities. According to the petitioner, he did not fall in either of the aforesaid categories of officers/officials, therefore, there was no occasion to place his name before the said Committee for any purpose.
Justice Ali Mohammad Margey observed that Before adverting to the response of the respondents, one thing needs to be mentioned here that since a good number of officers/officials have been prematurely retired, this Court has had the occasion to deal with a few of the writ petitions filed by the affected persons and go through the replies of the respondents filed thereto. This Court noticed that the Government in the General Administration Department has prepared stereotype replies in these petitions, giving therein the same details in the factual matrix and preliminary objections and hardly any attempt to contest the case on the merits of the issue specifically involved. Shearing such details, let the stand of the respondents as narrated in their reply be stated and it is the case of the respondents that the Government in terms of order no.17-GAD(Vig.)2015 dated 20.05.2015, constituted a Committee to consider the cases of those of the officers/officials who had indulged in corruption, enjoyed bad reputation in public and had created impediments in delivery of services to the general public in a smooth and effective manner for premature retirement. The Committee considered the mandate of Article 226(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations, 1956 (CSRs) and OM no.GAD(Vig.) 19-Adm/2010 dated 25.10.2010 which envisaged the screening of the record of the employees before making recommendation for premature retirement. After hearing both the sides in length, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey allowed the petition and quashed the Government order no.870-GAD of 2015 dated 30.06.2015, whereby the petitioner was given notice in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 226(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations, that he, having already rendered 22 years of service, shall retire from service with effect from forenoon of 01.07.2015, allowing him three months of pay and allowances in lieu of such noticeand directed respondents to reinstate and treat the petitioner in service, entitled to all the benefits, as if the impugned order had not at all been issued. To accelerate such process, the petitioner
is directed to report for duty before Commissioner/Secretary to Government, General Administration Department, Jammu, within seven days from today. JNF

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