The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed the premature retirement of Shamim Ahmad Laherwal, who was functioning as Director General, Libraries and Research.
Laherwal had approached the Court against the government order (No.870-GAD of 2015) dated June 30, 2015 whereby he was prematurely retired from his service.
Quashing the order of GAD against Laharwal, a bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey directed the government to reinstate and "treat the petitioner in service and give him all benefits he is entitled to, as if the impugned order had not at all been issued."
"To accelerate such process, the petitioner is directed to report for duty before Commissioner/Secretary to Government, General Administration Department within seven days," the court said.
"All what has been observed, mentioned and discussed, leads to only one conclusion that on the basis of the material available on record no reasonable man can assume or attain the subjective satisfaction that the petitioner has been corrupt or that he did not enjoy a good reputation or that he enjoyed a bad reputation for honesty in public," the court said.
Observing that the petitioner was prematurely retired on the ground that he was a corrupt officer and did not enjoy a good reputation, the court held that there was no material in support of the contention. "It is merely an unfounded and unsupported allegation," the court said.
The court disapproved preparing of stereotype replies by the GAD to similar petitions holding that "giving therein the same details in the factual matrix and preliminary objections and hardly there is any attempt to contest the case on the merits of the issue specifically involved".
"His case is that he all along his service performed his duties with utmost honesty, integrity and dedication which earned him the reputation of an officer of high merit which is evident by the fact that in his Annual Confidential Reports (APRs), written by varied officers under whom he had the occasion to work, he has all along been categorised as "outstanding" or "very good" and that, more importantly, he has never earned an adverse APR," the court observed.
" Based upon his merit, integrity and such APRs, he rose through ranks, by having been granted promotions at different levels, so much so at the time of issuance of the impugned order he was holding the post of Director General, Libraries and Research – a post equivalent in rank to that of a Commissioner/Secretary to Government – and was due for next higher promotion as Principal Secretary to Government," it observed.