HC directs govt to consider case of agri engineers for engagement as Rehbar-e-Zirat
Post by Syed Rukaya on Saturday, November 12, 2022
Srinagar, Nov 11: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh has directed the government to accord consideration to the case of Agriculture Engineers for their engagement as Rehbar-e-Zirat (ReZ) in terms of government order issued on February 6, 2007.
Allowing the two pleas filed by a group of Agriculture Engineers, the court quashed the government order issued on November 23, 2012 wherein the claim of petitioners for engagement as ReZ came to be rejected.
The court of Justice Javed Iqbal Wani held that petitioners have had a legitimate expectation of being treated in a certain way by respondents as had been a consistent past practice followed by them while bestowing the similarly situated persons the benefit of various schemes, which included Rehbar-e-Taleem, Rehbar-e-Ziraat.
"However, in the totality of the circumstances, it is perceivable that the impugned order issued by the respondents is tainted with arbitrariness, discriminatory in nature, manifestly violative of the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation and Article 14 of the Constitution," the bench said while quashing the order.
The court noted that the Cabinet Sub-Committee constituted on October 27, 2006, decided to derive a mechanism engaging all agriculture technocrats including petitioners on the pattern of ReT Scheme.
It underscored that this was followed by registering petitioners as ReZs in each district and therefore, petitioners on this representation of respondents changed their position, to be paid a monthly stipend of Rs 1500.
The bench recorded that a communication dated October 14, 2009 also came up from the desk of Director, Agriculture, suggesting a mechanism to the Government to regularize and enhance wages of agriculture technocrats including petitioners.
The court noted that the decisions taken by the Committee constituted by the Government in terms of order issued on April 15, 2008, as well generated a reasonable and legitimate expectation to the petitioners for their absorption on the lines of ReZ‘s and ReT‘s.
The bench pointed out that the established practice/s adopted by respondents in absorbing unemployed educated youth of different fields as ReTs and thereafter ReZs, which was a regular, consistent predictable and certain conduct, process or activity of the decision-making authority, an expectation got generated in petitioners, being a reasonable, legal, logical and valid one in tune with the principles referred in the preceding paras.
The court observed that the practice followed by respondents when they included similarly situated persons under the umbrella of a policy that generated and induced security and hope of a settled and stable future in the mind of the petitioners and the change effected by the respondents from their assured positions against the case of the petitioners in the process seemingly infringed the doctrine of legitimate expectations inasmuch as Article 14 of the Constitution viz-a-viz the petitioners.
On February 6, 2007, the government accorded sanction to engagement of all agriculture graduates, who were unemployed as of October 2006 under the ReZ scheme on a monthly stipend of Rs 1500.