Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed authorities to provide pensionary benefits to twelve ‘artisans’ who were denied it following their superannuation after serving the Industries and Commerce Department for decades.
According to advocate Asif Maqbool Lone, representing them before the court, the artisans were absorbed in Handicrafts Departments along with 23 other colleagues after they were initially served the department under a scheme known as “massive carpet scheme.”
However, he said, while their colleagues were granted all the pensionary benefits under government order No.149-Ind of 2005 (dated 2-6-2005), the 12 artisans were “unjustifiably denied the benefit otherwise available to them.” The artisans challenged it before the high court and despite opportunities given by the court, the respondents including Commissioner Secretary I&C Department, General Manager Handicrafts (Sale and export) Corporation, Director Handicrafts and Commissioner Secretary Finance did not file the reply to the petition filed by the artisans.
“In view of the conduct of respondents, the only presumption available is that respondents have nothing to state in opposition to the petition and the averments made in petition are taken as genuine by the other side,” reads an order by a bench of Justice Hasnain Massodi.
As per advocate Lone, the bench said, their 23 other colleagues who earlier like the petitioners served the Department and were later absorbed in the State Government have been favoured with the pensionary benefits and they have been singled out “for hostile discrimination.”
“In the above background writ petition is allowed and the respondents commanded to deal with the petitioners claim for pensionary benefits on the lines benefit is granted to other employees of the Department,” the bench said.
The respondents, court said, shall transmit necessary papers after completing all formalities to Accountant General within eight week from the date of receipt of this order. “ (Accountant General) in turn shall pass orders on the documents so received within four weeks thereafter,” the court added.
The artisans include Ali Muhammad, Rafiq Ahmad, Noor Mohammad, Bashir Ahmad, Abdul Salam, Bashir Ahmad, A M Akhoon, M Shafi Bhat, G M Mir, G R Parra, A R Malik and G M Bhat.