Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed the state government to notify State Forest Service rules.
Justice Rashid Ali Dar while hearing a petition of Assistant Wildlife wardens employees directed state to notify ‘State Forest Service’ as required in terms of Rule 2(g)(i) of the Indian Forest Service(Recruitment) Rules, 1966 read with Regulation 5 of the Indian Forest Service (Appointment By Promotion) Regulations, 1966 and to consider the petitioners as members of said Forest Service.
The court also directed state to prepare a list of suitable officers for induction into Indian Forest Service by promotion in accordance with Indian Forest Service (Appointment By Promotion) Regulations, 1966 after notification of ‘State Forest Service’.
“Exercise to be completed preferably within a period of eight weeks from the date copy of this order is served upon the respondents,” court directed.
The petitioners pleaded that the post of Assistant Wildlife Warden is a single cadre post having no promotional avenues, therefore, the state is legally obliged to create promotional avenues for the petitioners having regard to its constitutional obligations expressed under Article 14 and the Constitution of India. It was further pleaded that the promotion being a condition of service and having regard to the requirement thereof, there have to be rules of recruitment governing the service conditions of the petitioners which must provide avenues for promotion.
Justice Dar said, “I am of the opinion that the respondents cannot adopt the policy of status-quo. Same, if permitted has propensity of visiting civil consequences for the petitioners besides being militating their right of career advancement. As a model Employer, State is not expected to remain content in pleading to have constituted a committee to look into the matter, the record of which got damaged in the floods and the draft of that could not be kept. In case the position was so, they were required to take other remedial measures regarding re-constitution of the committee and have review/revision of recruitment rules for which the follow up was also to be made with ARI & Training Department.”
“The mechanism adopted by the respondents for promoting only the members of Forest Gazetted Service to Indian Forest Service appears to be wholly arbitrary, illogical and unjust. No justification is left with the respondents to deprive other wings of the Forest Service including the petitioners from consideration zone. By their abstinence to take definite, positive and prompt stand for constitution of State Forest Service as meant by Rule 2(g)(i) of the Indian Forest Service (Recruitment) Rules, 1966. The plea taken on behalf of the respondents that the petitioners cannot agitate their grievance now when they were conscious of the fact that there were no promotion avenues available when the rules were framed in 1994, also requires to be turned down being without any merit and legal force,” the court said.