The High Court has quashed an order, prematurely retiring a chief town planner more than two years ago and directed the government to reinstate the officer and provide him all consequential benefits with a month.
The CTP, Hammid Ahmad Wani, was among 63 officials declared deadwood by the ruling PDP-BJP alliance in June 2015 on the basis of a report by a high-level committee constituted for the purpose.
“The enunciation of law, signifies that registration of FIR or pendency of criminal case(s), cannot be made edifice for retirement of an employee compulsorily when his APR entries are good and integrity is portrayed in the APRs as beyond doubt,” a bench of Justice M K Hanjura said and quashed Wani’s premature retirement.
Observing that the order prematurely retiring Wani cannot stand the test of law and reason, the court said, as same is not based on any material from which a reasonable opinion could be derived to put forth the plea that he has outlived his utility as a Government servant or that his conduct was such that his continuance in service would be prejudicial to the public interest.
“The respondents are directed to reinstate the petitioner (Wani) and to grant him all consequential benefits, within a period of one month from the date the certified copy of this order is served on them by the petitioner,” the court added.
The court also recalled Francis Bacon famous quote that “laws are like cobwebs; wherein the small flies are caught and the bumble bees break through.” In his petition, Wani had submitted that during the entire tenure of his service, he worked with great deal of honesty and dedication at different places of posting and, at the relevant point of time—the day when the order was issued, he was holding the post of the chief town planner, JDA, Jammu, in the town planning organization (TPO), Kashmir.
He said he was appointed as an assistant town planner in the TPO Kashmir in 1993 and on the basis of his merit and suitability, he was promoted albeit on officiating basis as town planner, in 2001. Wani said he was later promoted to the post of senior town planner and on 23 May 2014, he was promoted on officiating basis as chief town planner, Jammu Development Authority.
However, he said on 30 June, 2015, he was compulsorily retired from service with effect from the forenoon July 2015.
He said his service records in the form of Annual Performance Records (APRs) based on objective appraisal of the work, conduct in the context of the merit, suitability and the efficiency of the public servant has been right throughout rated as “outstanding” by the government.