Directs release of pending salaries of employees
Srinagar: “A government employee rendering his services and not given his salary amounts to ‘Begaar’ (forced labour),” said J&K High Court while allowing a plea filed by employees of a Local Urban department seeking release of their withheld salary from 2018.
The court of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed respondents to release their salaries of the petitioners held since 2018.
However, the court said that respondents are at liberty to pass appropriate orders in dealing with the appointment of the petitioners.
This direction was passed after it was argued that the petitioners have been appointed illegally and in violation of the rules.
“The claim of the petitioners is that they were appointed in the year 2009. The Rules of 2008 have been promulgated vide SRO 417 dated 18.12.2008, meaning thereby that as on the date the petitioners claim to have been appointed, the Rules of 2008 were in operation,” said the court.
The court recorded that the posts were not referred to the recruiting agency. Consequently, the petitioners’ appointment has not been made in accordance with the mandate of proviso to Rule 5 of the Rules of 2008.
“Any appointment made in contravention of the aforesaid rule and without observing the procedure established by law cannot dehors the Rules. Since the appointment was made in total disregard of the aforesaid provision of the Rules of 2008, it cannot but be termed as a backdoor appointment,” the court said.
Justice Magrey recorded that the appointment of the petitioners is made dehors the rules and the judgment of the Division Bench of which he was the author, squarely covers the case so far as the appointment of the petitioners is concerned being illegal.
“But the only distinction which can be made between the petitioners in the present case and the petitioners in the case decided by the Division Bench in LPANo. 196/2012, is that in that case appointees were removed from service on the ground that their appointment was dehors the rules/ illegal, but in the present case there is no order of removal made by the respondents,” the court said.
It was said that the question which arises before this Court is that till date no formal order has been issued by the respondents, removing the petitioners from service on noticing their appointment being illegal. Therefore the claim of the petitioners for release of salary needs to be addressed.
“For these reasons, the instant writ petition is allowed with a direction to respondents to release the unpaid salary of the petitioners from 2018. However, respondents are at liberty to pass appropriate orders in dealing with the appointment of the petitioners,” Justice Magrey directed.