HC directs Govt to withholds salary of Chief Engineer

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SRINAGAR: The State High Court today withheld the salary of Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control for not implementing a court order.

Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey while dealing with a contempt petition filed by one Tahira Bano seeking implementation of judgment passed way back in 2014 with further prayer that the authorities concerned be punished for the contempt of the court.

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Justice Magrey said that since there is no compliance filed by the respondents, and directed that the release of pay shall be stopped in favour of the Chief Engineer, I&FC Department, Kashmir, Srinagar till further orders.

To implement this direction, Court asked the Commissioner/ Secretary I&FC Department, to report compliance within seven days about withholding the salary of CE I&FC failing which his salary will also be stopped.

Court during the proceedings of the contempt petition said that more than two months have passed since, yet no response is filed and today when the matter was taken up, the officer Chief Engineer I&FC Ashok Kumar Sharma was present in person as also his counsel submitted that the matter is under active consideration of the government i.e. Commissioner Secretary, I&FC Department, Civil Secretariat, Srinagar.

Perusal of the proceedings revealed that the notice in the contempt petition was issued to both Commissioner/ Secretary and CE in December 2015 thereafter the State counsel appeared for the respondents sought two weeks’ time to file statement of facts/compliance.

When the statement of facts were considered, perused thereof revealed that respondents evaded to implement the order while waiting for the decision of the Division Bench in the appeal. Therefore, the counsel for the respondents was given time to submit compliance before framing rule against the respondents.

“During these four years, as and when this contempt was taken up, the approach of the State counsel was to delay the implementation citing pendency of time-barred appeal along with condonation of delay application and thereafter a review petition filed by the respondents”, court recorded in the order.

Without going into the details of the orders passed from time to time, court said, it shall be relevant to take note of the order passed on March 2019 when the counsel appearing for the respondents sought time to either report orders of the Supreme Court in SLP claimed to have been filed by the State against the decision of this court or to submit the compliance.

The court while noticing delay in implementation of the orders had granted further time to either submit the orders of the Supreme Court in their SLP having bearing on the decision of the contempt or to submit the compliance.