Observing that an official's reputation cannot be termed doubtful unless supported by material evidence, the High Court has quashed a 2016 termination order of an officiating district mineral officer who was declared as deadwood by the government.
A bench of Justice M K Hanjura quashed the termination order of Abdul Gani Mir who was serving as mineral supervisor, I/C district mineral officer, Bandipora in industries & commerce department in 2016.
The court directed the government to reinstate Wani and grant him all the consequential benefits within a month.
"The reputation of a public servant cannot be termed as doubtful and his conduct cannot be determined only on spoken words in the absence of any material on record. This is a fundamental flaw in the order issued against the petitioner, whereby he has been shown the door," the court observed while quashing Mir's termination order.
Mir had approached the court through his counsel Hakim Suhail Ishtiaq questioning his order of termination.
The court observed that the whole exercise was conducted on the basis of the involvement of the petitioner in a case registered with police station VOK. The charge sheet was filed against the petitioner before the competent court of law, but the trial had not concluded.
The court said the state was perhaps, laboring under the belief that every person was presumed to be guilty, unless and until he proved his innocence.
In response to the state's contention that there was no material in the shape of 'character roll entries' available before them, the court said: "If these were not available, the state could not have concluded that the conduct of the petitioner was unbecoming of a public servant, or that he was a fit person to be retired compulsorily from service".
Referring to the annual performance reports of Mir, the court said the reports had been shelved. "The APRs escaped the scrutiny of the committee. It appears to have been done with the ultimate aim of showing the petitioner the exit and, had these 'APRs', been considered, the result would have been otherwise," the court added
The court said that mere registration of the case against the petitioner by the vigilance organization cannot form the basis of retiring him compulsorily.