JKPSC's functioning hampered due to mounting legal cases, reveals RTI

A Right to Information (RTI) on Sunday revealed that the functioning of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC), a premier recruitment body of J&K Union Territory, has been hampered due to the mounting legal cases against it in Jammu and Kashmir High Court and Supreme Court of India.

According to RTI, it has come to fore that Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission, responsible for recruitment of gazetted posts in all the departments including that of subordinate judicial officers, is facing 830 cases in Jammu and Kashmir High Court and Supreme Court of India.

The reply provided by JKPSC vide their office letter no PSC/Lit/46/2020 dated 23/11/2020 to RTI activist, Raman Sharma in response to his RTI application discloses that as on date there are 826 cases pending against it in Jammu and Kashmir High Court and the JKPSC is also party in another four cases before the Supreme Court of India.

The Commission has also informed in its reply that it has filed two cases in the Supreme Court and 8 appeals before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

With regard to Legal expenses borne by the JKPSC in defending and pursuing these cases in Supreme Court and High Court, the RTI reply states that during the Financial Year 2018-19 and 2019-20 the commission have paid Rs 35, 14367 as Lawyers’ fees including over Rs 22 lakh as retainership fee.

Interestingly, the amount paid by the Commission in defending these court cases in 2018 and 2019 exceeded its own legal budget by Rs. 5 lakh.  The RTI reply shows zero legal expenses borne by the recruitment body during the current financial year 2020-21 though Rs. 9.00 lakh has been kept as legal budget.

It is pertinent to mention here that in October 2017, the JKPSC in another RTI reply to activist Raman Sharma had informed that there were 500 cases pending against it in the J&K High Court.

The number of cases risen from 500 to 826 in a span of three years which means that every third day a new Court case is filed by the aggrieved party against the recruitment panel It is pertinent to mention here that after the extension of jurisdiction of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, most of the cases pending against the Public Service Commission before the J&K High Court are about to be transferred to the CAT soon. The total legal expenses borne by the Commission in the last 5 financial years is approximately rupees seventy lakhs and every financial year it exceeded its allocated budget to meet our legal expenses.