HC orders govt to pay 17 years’ salary to Junior Engineer

HC orders govt to pay 17 years’ salary to Junior Engineer

Arshid Hussain Koul was booked under PSA and dismissed from service in 1990 ‘surreptitiously’ before being reinstated in 2007

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed government to pay salary and provide all service benefits for seventeen years to a junior engineer in power development department who was ‘surreptitiously’ booked under Public Safety Act and later dismissed from service in 1990.
Hearing a petition filed by Arshid Hussain Koul, a single bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed the government to treat him on duty for the entire period, ‘determine, accord and restore’ him due place in seniority and accord him all consequential service benefits including promotion within three months.
Koul was appointed as Sectional Officer (Electrical), later re-designated as Junior Engineer, in the State PWD on 19 November 1986. In 1990, he was detained under J&K Public Safety Act.
While he was under detention, Government issued an order 7 March 1990, dismissing him from service with immediate effect under of the provision of Section 126 of the Constitution of the State.
However, his detention under PSA was quashed by the Court. Subsequently he challenged his dismissal from service in 1991, which was allowed by the high Court on 20 May 2005. It was, however, observed in the judgment that the state may hold a regular enquiry in the case in accordance with the rules.
The state challenged the judgment before a division bench only to be dismissed by it on 16 August 2007.
Consequently, the Government issued an order on 5 October 2007, directing Koul to report to Chief Engineer, EM&RE Kashmir forthwith for further posting without prejudice to the regular enquiry by Home Department.
Later, the Government, on 14 November 2008 appointed Farooq Ahmad Peer (IAS), then Secretary Home Department, as Inquiry Officer to conduct enquiry into the matter and furnish his findings with definite recommendations.
The enquiry officer concluded that Koul’s detention under PSA and dismissal from the service was done “surreptitiously”. He had also recommended government to take favorable view in the matter.
In his petition, Koul submitted that though the enquiry report was furnished by the enquiry officer three years back, the concerned authorities have not passed the consequential orders regarding the intervening period.
Koul had prayed the court to direct the authorities to pay him salary for the intervening period, his seniority shall be settled and he be not deprived of other service benefits which he would have accrued on the post by virtue of his seniority including promotions to the next higher posts.
“The Enquiry Officer recommended a favourable view of the matter. The favourable view would mean a decision which would redress the long pending grievance of the petitioner,” Justice Magrey observed and said that nothing remains to be gone into by any other authority or Committee, especially any Screening Committee.
“In fact, the concerned respondents, in implementation of the judgment dated 20.05.2005 ought to have passed the consequential orders immediately after receipt of the report by inquiry Officer. They have instead slept over the matter and sought to sit in appeal over the judgment by referring the petitioner’s case to the Screening Committee,” the court said, observing that once the dismissal order was quashed, there was no question of referring Koul’s case to the Screening Committee to decide about his intervening period.
“The petitioner having been absolved, nothing more was required to be done,” the court said and directed the authorities to treat Koul on duty for the entire intervening period, pay him the salary for the period together with increments etc and accord him all consequential service benefits including promotions which he would have otherwise earned in normal course had he not been ‘surreptitiously’ detained under PSA and dismissed from service.
“The needful shall be done by the respondents within a period of three months,” the bench added.