Jammu: Rebuking the J&K administration for extending the tenures of blue-eyed officers by bending the service rules, while adopting the discriminatory approach towards other offices , the Central Administration Tribunal in hard hitting judgment has asked the government to be consistent.
CAT comprising of chairman Justice L Narasimha Reddy and administrative Member Tarun Shridhar has castigated the senior officials of J&K administration who twist and bends the rules to benefit the officers of their choice and stick to the rules in case of others. The bench pointed out that government is functioning in an unsatisfactory way while treating the officers of the level of JKAS.
Petitioner Joginder Lal Bhagat was initially appointed as an accountant in the Ravi Tawi Command Area Farmers Service Cooperative Society Limited (for short ‘Society’)between 1976 and 1984. He took part in Combined Competitive Examination held for Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) in the year 1984. He attained the age of superannuation on 31.03.2010. At that stage, just before his retirement, he submitted a representation to the Government, with a request to add the service rendered by him in Society, for the purpose of pension. That request was rejected.
CAT observed that the facts reflect a lack of clarity and consistency on the part of the Government. The applicant expected the same treatment, but the respondents (government) denied him such benefit.
The applicant contended that there are several instances of the services rendered in Non-Government Organizations being counted in other Government service as and when the persons were selected to KAS and in his case, the benefit was denied. He cited the examples of Kuldeep Raj Sharma, Ram Paul Gupta and two others. The applicant contends that there was a clear case of discrimination on the part of the respondents.
Allowing the petition, CAT set aside the impugned order and directed J&K Chief Secretary to take into account all the cases in which the past services of KAS officers in other organizations were extended and that of the applicant; and pass a consistent order strictly in accordance with law, if it is proposes to withdraw the benefit granted to any officer and issued notice in this regard.
Tribunal pointed out that it is a clear cut case of discrimination in the context of granting relaxation. It is not as if there was a long time gap between the dates on which the orders were passed or that there was change in the law. It is a clear cut case of discrimination in the context of granting relaxation. The applicant contended that he was discriminated simply because he belongs to scheduled caste community and one cannot ignore the plea, if one takes into account, the text and context of the orders passed in favour of others officers.
CAT further said that the government should be consistent, particularly while dealing with services of top and senior officers in the administration. Discrimination of this nature would send a wrong signal and in a way, would reflect the method of functioning of the Government.
CAT said that the best thing for the Government was either to withdraw the benefits, which were granted to the officers, contrary to law, situation similar to the applicant, or to grant the same benefits to the him(applicant).
An exercise in this behalf shall be completed within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.