HC asks govt to release Rs 4.5 cr pending salary of 38 judges, court staff

Says state can’t shirk its responsibility on plea of want of funds

Srinagar: The J&K high court on Thursday directed government to release Rs 4.5 crores for payment of salary to 38 judges and the staff in additional special mobile magistrate courts on or before August 3.
“Payment of salary to the judicial officers and the court staff who are rendering justice to the litigants has to be given top priority and the state government cannot shirk its responsibility on the alleged plea of want of funds,” a division bench of the Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi observed after court’s registry brought to the bench’s notice the issue about the non-payment of salary to the judicial officers and staff from last six months.
“It is well settled proposition of law, declared by the Supreme Court, that it is the responsibility of the person running the administration to find out the source to extend the guaranteed rights of the citizens,” the court said issued notice to the government through Chief Secretary and Secretary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for response as well as for the compliance of the directions.
The 38 Additional Special Mobile Magistrate and the staff attached to the courts was established under 13th Finance Commission in lieu of creating the morning and evening courts in the state for improving justice delivery system.
The courts were created on noticing the climatic and topographical scenario of the state, the registry informed the court.
The Registry informed the bench that Government of India has stopped funding under the scheme namely 14th Finance Commission due to which from March this year, the Judicial Officers as well as the staff was not getting their salary.
The Registry said the it had taken up the matter with the Secretary to Government, Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs on 6 June.
In spite of the follow-up action to get the salary released, the registry informed the court that till date no amount has been sanctioned for paying salary to the judicial officers as well as to the staff.
The registry said that the salary amount required for the financial year 2015-2016 was Rs. 10, 38, 97,152.
The Registry said that a sum of Rs. 86,58,096 was required as monthly salary and an amount of Rs. 4,32,90,480 for clearing the pending salary of the judicial officers and the Staff for five months from March to July this year. The court has posted the matter for further consideration on August 4.