Srinagar, July 15: Miffed over defiance of its directions in a seven-year-old case, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh Friday directed Principal Secretary to government, School Education Department (SED), Bishwajit Kumar Singh to remain present on August 16 to explain “why he should not be punished for contempt of court”.
The court directed the Registry to frame a ‘Robkar’ and issue formal notice to Principal Secretary to show cause as to why he be not punished for committing the contempt of the court for "wilful disobedience" and non-compliance of the judgment passed by it on July 28, 2015.
The court of Justice Sanjeev Kumar noted that almost seven years have passed, the respondent has been avoiding to comply with the said judgment on one pretext or the other.
Hearing a contempt plea seeking regularisation of services of Head Masters, the court noted that the respondent had no option, but to regularize the services of the petitioners as Head Masters from the date they had attained the eligibility under the Jammu and Kashmir Education (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules, 1992.
The bench underscored that there is no denying the fact that the petitioners had officiated as Head Masters/equivalent from the year 1997, 1998 & 2002 to 2008 and had remained in officiating capacity for several years.
Justice Kumar noted that it was nowhere the case of the respondents that the officiating promotions given to the petitioners were not against the vacant posts, nor is it the plea of respondent anywhere that the petitioners, at the relevant point of time, were not eligible to hold the posts.
The bench recorded that there is also no averment to indicate that, as per their seniority position, they were not entitled to hold the posts on the dates they were promoted on officiating basis.
"Absent such stand taken by the respondents, either in the writ petition or even in the compliance report now filed, this Court is left with no option, but to prima facie conclude that the respondent is guilty of willfully flouting the directions passed by this Court and, therefore, in contempt," the court observed.
The court recorded that in an earlier compliance report filed by the Principal Secretary, SED, it was submitted that the petitioners' case was under process in the Department for placing the same before the review DPC, to be convened within one month.
It pointed out that the respondent has now filed the compliance report and has also placed on record a copy of government order dated June, 27, 2022 in which he has reiterated his earlier stand that the case of the petitioners stood considered in the DPC, held in the year 2012, in pursuance of which, "the consideration order dated October, 05, 2016 was passed least realizing that the earlier compliance report filed and the government order dated October, 05, 2016 placed on record stood rejected by both the Single Bench as well as the Division Bench of this Court."
Dismayed over the delay by the government authorities in implementing its directions, the bench underscored that the respondent is "adamant" on his stand and has, thus, committed "clear contempt of this court."
It recorded that the judgment, of which violation is alleged in this contempt petition, was passed on July, 28, 2015, whereas the DPC by the Department stood convened in the year 2012 and the promotions of Masters as Head Masters stood made vide government order dated August, 02, 2012.
"For the reasons best known to the respondent(s), the aforesaid government order was not set up as a defence in the writ petition," the bench said.
The court recorded that the writ petition, as a matter of fact, was not seriously contested by the respondents by filing any reply affidavit.