Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High court has slapped Rs 20000 costs on Director School Education Kashmir(DSEK) for “slackness and callousness” towards the plight of a retired teacher who was ‘denied’ emoluments along with arrears and allowances for more than seven years.
Besides the costs to be paid to the teacher— Mehraj-ud-Din Ashai— a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also quashed December 2, 2003 order (no.5553-DSEK of 2003) by DSEK, whereby the period of his service from November 29, 1994 to April 1, 2002 has been treated as leave, whatever kind due to him.
In his petition, Ashai had sought directions to concerned officials to release his emoluments alongwith all arrears of pay, allowances together with interest; and to settle, finalize and release his retiral benefits alongwith interest.
“This case, it may at the outset be observed, depicts a pathetic story of a government servant and the extreme apathy demonstrated by the concerned functionaries of the Education Department, from time to time, towards his plight,” Justice Magrey said in the judgment announced on Friday. “The height of administrative slackness and callousness on the part of the concerned departmental authorities can be gauged from the fact that after the petitioner had attained the age of superannuation on (May 31 2002), he was issued a charge sheet on (June 20, 2002) on the allegation of having been found absent from duty on (June 15, 2002).”
Not only that, the court observed, vide notice by DSEK on September 30, 2002 he was required to resume his duties and show cause within a week’s time as to why action should not be initiated against him, failing which, his services shall be terminated under Article 128 of the J&K CSRs.
“This, despite the fact that the petitioner, responding to the charge sheet on (June 20 2002) served on him by the Chief Education Officer, had on (August 2, 2002), informed the authorities that the charge sheet was unwarranted as he had retired on (May 31 2002). Thus, this is a glaring example of tossing the fate of government employee, not on basis of facts, but on mere dreamed up perceptions,” the court said.
In his petition, Ashai averred that he was appointed as teacher on sustentative basis on August 6, 1964.
On September 20, 1994, Ashai said, while he was posted as teacher at Government High School Wanghat, CEO Srinagar issued an order, effecting transfer of 120 teachers. By the order, Ashai said, he was asked to report to Zonal Education Officer Gulabagh against an available post.
Consequent to the order, Ashai said that he reported to the ZEO on November 29, 1994. However, he said, the ZEO did not issue his adjustment and on account of non-adjustment, his salary could not be drawn.
Faced with the situation, Ashai said that he made a number of representations to CEO Srinagar which was duly received in his office on December 27 1994.
When it did not evoke any response, Ashai said, he made number of representations but to no avail.
Having no other option, he filed a writ petition before the High Court which came to be disposed of on February 18 2002 with a direction to the Education department to identify the post of teacher and issue formal order of adjustment to Ashai within three weeks. Further, the court had directed the department to decide intervening period from November 29, 1994 in accordance with rules.
Subsequently, DSEK on April 1, 2002 issued an order, allowing Ashai to join with immediate effect and posted him at Boy primary school at Daryadin Gulabagh here.
Ashai again made representations, asking the concerned to decide intervening period from November 29 1994 till ending March 2002.
“Respondents have failed to establish that the petitioner had remained absent from duty or he had not reported before the Zonal Education Officer r,” the bench observed after hearing both the sides.
A government servant, court said, has a right to salary and emoluments unless the same is forfeited by way of punishment or he is found to have voluntarily absented from duty without any cause in a departmental enquiry held in accordance with the Rules governing the field.
Quashing the DSEK order (no.5553-DSEK of 2002), the court held that Ashai is entitled to his salary from the date it has not been paid to him after his transfer to the office of ZEO, Gulubagh till the date of his retirement on superannuation on May 31 2002 together with increments that would become due to him, the increase and arrears of pay on account of Pay Revisions made by the Government during the relevant period together with till consequential service benefits.
“The petitioner is also held entitled to all the retrial benefits as may be permissible to under Rules governing the subject.”
accordingly, the court directed DSEK to release dues (salary, arrears of pay, retrial benefits etc) to Ashai within a period of one month, failing which he would also be entitled to simple interest of 6%.
The court also directed respondents to process and complete Ashai’s pension papers within next 15 days from the date of expiry of one month.
“In the facts and circumstances of the case, the petitioner is also held entitled to costs of Rs 20,000 to be paid to him by (DESK) alongwith his dues.”