HC orders personal appearance of KU Registrar in regularisation case of JPAs

Petitioners claim they are entitled to regularization as JPAs in terms of notification dated September 03, 2014
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar, Dec 12: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has again directed for personal appearance of the Registrar of the Kashmir University (KU) for the second time in 15 days related to a alleged case of delay by the University in regularization of a petitioner applicants as Junior Professional Assistants (JPA).

“Registrar, University of Kashmir, shall appear in person on the next date of hearing,” a bench of Justices Moksha Khhajuria Kazmi and Sanjeev Kumar said in the judgment on December 5, 2022, when the Registrar of the University was already present in person in compliance with the earlier court direction of November 23, 2022.

News agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO) reported that on November 23, a bench of Justices Rajesh Sekhri and Tashi Rabstan had directed for personal appearance of the Registrar KU on the next date of hearing (December 5) when the KU’s Counsel,  T H Khwaja, prayed for grant of 10 days time “to do the needful” in terms of Order dated 01.09.2022.

“We feel that the respondents are in the process of implementation of the judgment, but have delayed the same with reference to some administrative difficulties. On further consideration of the matter, we are of the considered view that there is no scope for the respondents (University of Kashmir) to delay implementation of the judgment by addressing other issues of some other person(s),” the court of Justices Mohammad Akram Choudhary and Ali Mohammad Magray had pronounced in their judgment on 1.09.2022, granting four-weeks time to the respondents to submit the regularization order of the petitioner(s), as directed by the Court and the Division Bench of the Court.

The court had said if they failed “the Court will have no option but to frame rule against the respondents on the next date of hearing, on which date, in the event compliance is not filed, respondent no2 (Registrar, KU) shall appear in person.”

Writ petitioners Zahoor Hussain, Masooda Bano and Zeenat-ul-Nissa came to be engaged on contractual/casual basis by the University of Kashmir. Zahoor was engaged vide order on 29-08-2007, and Zeenat-ul-Nissa vide order on 27-12-2007 and Masooda Bano vide order on 13-12-2007. The petitioners have claimed that they were engaged as JPAs on sanctioned posts though on casual contractual/basis, whereas the respondent KU claims that the writ petitioners were engaged on casual basis for rendering help like orderlies and that they were not engaged against the sanctioned posts of JPAs.

“It is not in dispute that the aforementioned three writ petitioners continued to work on contractual/casual basis for more than seven years. It appears that the KU invited applications of the posts of JPAs on a few occasions, setting into motion the process of regular selection, to which even the writ petitioners responded. But it seems that the KU did not take forward the selection process and ultimately invited fresh applications for filling up the posts of JPAs in terms of its Advertisement Notification No V of 2014 dated 09-05-2014. On 4th March 2015, notice was issued by the authorities of KU for conducting written test for posts of JPAs, and it is at this stage that the writ petitioners filed SWP challenging the above advertisement notice and notice dated 4.-03-2015.

The writ petitioners have claimed that they are entitled to regularization of their appointment as JPAs in terms of Notification dated 3rd September 2014 issued by the University of Kashmir and sought a direction to this effect in the writ petition.

The KU contested the writ petition by filing reply thereto, and took a stand that the regularization policy was issued vide Notification Dated 3rd September 2014 pertains and applies to regularization against Class IV only and not to the higher posts of JPAs.

It was further claimed that only writ petitioner Zahoor Hussain was appointed on contractual basis against the post of JPA, wheare-as, other writ petitioners were engaged on casual basis to perform duties of orderlies, and, as such, they cannot claim regularization against the posts of JPAs.

It was further contended by the KU that notification dated 3rd September 2014 owes its origin to the resolution dated 11.10.2013 passed by the University Council which does not envisage regularization of services of the writ petitioners against JPAs but he same envisages regularization against Class IV posts only.

“During the pendency of the writ petition, Rehana Nazir and Saba Ali, upon making application for impleadment, were impleaded as respondent No 7 and 8 to the writ petition. Both had participated in the selection process that was set into motion by the University pursuant to impugned advertisement notification No V of 2014 dated 09-05-2014, and, according to then, respondent Rehana Nazir had secured merit position No 8 in the select list. These newly-added respondents also filed their response to the writ petition contending therein that they have undergone proper selection process and, as such, have right of consideration for appointment to the posts of JPAs and the same cannot be denied to them.

During the pendency of these intra-court appeals, the above named candidate Sabha Ali filed a writ petition whereby she challenged the policy of regularization as notified by the KU on 3rd September 2014 and on the ground that the impugned policy seeks to legitimize backdoor appointment and perpetuates illegalities and irregularities in the appointments.

On 7-11-2022, the University of Kashmir filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court verdict. However, soon after the petition was called on for hearing, a bench of SC Justices Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat upon hearing the counsel observed that “there is an inordinate delay of 113 days in filing the SLPs which has not been explained satisfactorily. The SLPs are accordingly dismissed on the grounds of delay. Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of”.

On November 29, the Kashmir University constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Dean Research to deliberate upon the order dated 07-11-2022 passed by the Supreme Court in the SLP and make recommendations thereof.

However, since the University was yet to take the final decision to apprize the court, the Registrar remained present in person in the court, which directed that he (Registrar) shall appear in person on the next date, listed on 13.12.2022.

The petitioners are represented by Advocates Bashir Ahmad Bashir, Mujeeb Andrabi, JH Reshi, while the respondent University is represented by Advocate T. H. Khawaja. 

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