HC upholds order to quash premature retirement of incharge Divisional Manager SFC

HC upholds order to quash premature retirement of incharge Divisional Manager SFC
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: High Court of J&K and Ladakh High on Wednesday upheld its single judge bench verdict quashing an order passed by the government in 2015 whereby incharge Divisional Manager State Forest Corporation (SFC) was compulsorily retired from service.

A division bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Puneet Gupta dismissed an appeal against the judgment which the single judge bench of the court had passed in 2018.

In the said Judgment the court had ordered the government to reinstate the Corporation Reyaz Anwar Masoodi who was prematurely retired as incharge Divisional Manager State Forest and grant him of all consequential benefits.

The Court had ordered this while quashing the government order prematurely retiring Masoodi from service.

“There are two fundamental principles to be followed, one on the subjective satisfaction of the government and other the government shall have to consider the entire record of service before taking a decision in the matter,” the bench said.

Pointing out that Masoodi could not be prematurely retired solely by reason of the fact of registration of the two FIRs in which he was one of the accused, the bench said resultantly it did not find any irregularity or illegality committed by the Single Judge in passing the judgment. “We are of the opinion that there is no merit in the present LPA. It, therefore, deserves to be dismissed” the court said.

Masoodi was working as Incharge Divisional Manager, State Forest Corporation (SFC) Division, Zangli, Kashmir when the Government in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 226(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations, 1956 (CSRs), gave him notice on 30 June 2015 to the effect that he, having already attained 48 years of age, shall retire from service from 01.07.2015.

He was allowed three months’ pay and allowances in lieu of three months’ notice. It was this order which Masoodi challenged and the Single Bench quashed on 23 March 2018. “Article 226(2) of the CSRs read with the instructions and guidelines issued by the Government, lay great emphasis and spell out the need and demand to consider the entire service record of the public servant available in the shape of APRs, service book, personal file giving the details of the complaints received against him from time to time,” the court had said.

“While considering the desirability of the retention or otherwise of a public servant, whose conduct has come under a cloud, the criminal case(s) registered against him can be considered on the parapet and the bulwark of the chain of the documents/service particulars and that FIR(s) cannot form the sole basis to retire a public servant compulsorily as the same is not in line with the scheme and mandate of Article 226(2) of the CSR and guidelines issued by the Government”, it said.

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