Abolition of 38 courts: HC stays cabinet decision

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday stayed a cabinet decision regarding the abolition of 38 Additional Special Mobile Magistrate Courts and directed the government to release the salary of the presiding officers and the staff from next month onwards as well.
While announcing their closure, the government had said the courts were temporarily created to be coterminous with the period of the award of the 13th Finance Commission upto 31 August this year.
“In light of the stand taken by the (Government of India) and the fact that a sum of Rs 172.04 crore has been earmarked for the 14th Finance Commission to Jammu and Kashmir for the judiciary, which is more than Rs 34 crore per year, and a sum of around Rs 12.06 crore being earmarked per year on average for creation of new courts and restructuring of the existing courts, we are of the firm view that the decision taken by the state government appears to be without taking into consideration the funds provided by the (GOI) under the 14th Finance Commission (sic),” a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi observed and stayed the 19 August cabinet order (No. 2414- LD(A) of 2015) so as to enable the 38 Courts to continue and dispose of cases until further orders.
The bench also directed the state government to release the salary of the presiding officers and the staff attached to all the 38 courts from September onwards.
The court was hearing a suo motu Public Interest Litigation following a report by its registry that 38 Additional/Special Mobile Magistrates and staff attached to the Courts were not paid their salary from March 2015.