HC censures Govt on delay in implementing its decisions

Disapproving of the delay in implementing its decisions, the High Court on Wednesday directed Law Secretary to inform it about the litigation policy notified by the Government for settlement of the pending cases.

Hearing a contempt petition by one Dr M K Bhandari, a bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey said it was necessary to ask the Law Secretary to make available a copy of the litigation policy notified by the Government for ensuring settlement of cases pending against it.

After the court reproached government, additional advocate general Shah Aamir assured the court that the government was committed to comply with the directions of the court.

Observing that if an officer heading the department examines the litigation policy, the court said he would of course ensure adherence to the same. “Resultantly, the huge litigation which is pending against his department will get minimized.”

The court granted four weeks as last opportunity to the authorities concerned to implement the order it has passed on April 17, 2015.

Observing that the contempt petition has remained on board for last nearly five years, the court said the petitioner is alleging violation of final order it issued on 17 April 2015. In terms of the said order the court had disposed the petition and directed the respondents to comply with their own statutory rules in respect of posts of ‘A Grade Specialist’ in Health and Medical Education Department and refer the same to the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC)/Public Service Commission (PSC).

While the court had asked the DPC/PSC to consider all eligible candidates in accordance with rules for appointing them by promotion on the post, it had asked the government to comply with the statutory rules and make promotions within three months. The direction, the court said, was required to be complied with within a period of three months. “Even on expiry of about five years, the respondents have not made the reference.”

The court said Under Secretary Health and Medical Education Department ( H& ME) filed the statement of facts on behalf of the Principal Secretary H&ME  on December 13, 2017 which, it held, reveals that the department was in the process of collecting the required clearances/APRs of last five years, integrity and work conduct certificates, posting details of all eligible candidates of the department. Therefore, the court said, the officer had sought time to complete the process to refer the posts to the DPC/PSC.

The court said its intervention became necessary when the petitioner approached it.

Observing that the government has accepted its order without any challenge, the court said the order has become final. “Once the Court order becomes final, there is no scope for the respondents to delay its implementation, as the delay amounts to further contempt of the Court.”

Pointing out that since 10 December 2015 the contempt petition was listed and considered by the Court 33 times, the court termed it “painful to see the delay in implementation of the order”.

Observing that it has witnessed hue and cry about non-implementation of its orders which have become final, the court said: “This is not the first time that the Court is reminding the Government about the approach it has adopted”.             “Court cannot doubt the bona fide approach of the officer; maybe there are weaknesses in the system, which are not allowing him to take the process to the logical conclusion in tune with the directions of this Court”.

The respondent officer, the court said, has to accelerate his all apparatus available and ensure that there was no default on account of non-adherence to the instructions issued from time to time for the officers under his control who may be contributing for the delay in the process of implementation of the Court orders.