Srinagar, Aug 16: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh restrained the government from proceeding ahead with the selection process for the posts of social worker members of Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), and chairperson and members of Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
Issuing notice to the government on a fresh plea seeking quashing of advertisement notice issued by it on August, 01 for appointment of social worker members of the JJB, chairperson and members of CWC in each district of J&K, the court directed the respondents to file objections in the matter by or before the next date of hearing.
The court of Justice Javed Iqbal Wani issued notice to the government through Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare Department (SWD), Director General, Ministry of Women and Child Department, Mission Director, and Member Secretary Selection Committee, Directorate of Mission Vatsalya.
"In the meanwhile, subject to objections and till next date of hearing, respondents shall refrain from proceeding ahead with the process of selection pursuant to the advertisement notices 01 SC ( MV ) of 2022 dated 01.08.2022 and 02 SC ( MV ) of 2022 dated 01.08.2022," the court said and fixed the matter for hearing on October 18.
The plea filed by 96 social worker members of JJB and Chairperson and Members of CWC of various districts of J&K, stating that they are already manning the said posts and are having considerable period of time left on their tenure as Chairpersons, members of CWCs and members of JJBs.
The senior counsel, Z.A Shah representing the petitioners submitted that they came to be appointed after subjecting them to a process of selection against the positions in question and have been manning the said positions pursuant to the J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act , of 2013 and Rules of 2014 framed thereunder.
He submitted that initially the term of appointment was of three years which came to be extended for further term of one year in terms of government order issued on January, 27, 2021.
Shah contended that petitioners became eligible and entitled to re-appointment upto three consecutive terms based on the performance appraisal to be made by the selection cum oversight committee under and in terms of Rule 4 of Rules 2014.
He stated that the petitioners in terms of said Rule became eligible to seek reappointment and continue in all, for a period of nine years, subject to the said appraisal.
He contended that upon coming into being of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, followed by the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) order, 2019, the rights, privileges, obligations etc of the petitioners under the Act of 2013 came to be protected.
Shah submitted that despite the presence and protection provided by the J&K Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) order, 2019, the respondents issued the advertisement notices under and in terms of new Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice ( Care and Protection of Children ) Act, of 2015 read with Rules of 2016.
He stated that the fallout of the said advertisement notices notifying the positions occupied by the petitioners in essence will affect their rights and privileges protected under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) order, 2019.
The counsel contended that the petitioners in the process will be replaced and substituted without addressing to their claim of re-appointment upto three consecutive terms.
In light of the submissions, the petitioners have sought that the respondent be directed to allow the petitioners to discharge their duties as Chairpersons, Members of CWCs and Members of JJBs in terms of the J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2014.
In view of the submissions and the controversy involved in the issue, the court noted there appears to be substance in the submissions made by the petitioner counsel, Z. A. Shah at this stage carving out a case for grant of indulgence.