Decision of the single judge held unreasonable on the grounds of interfering with the merits of the case: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

There was no justification to proceed against the appellants nor could learned Single Judge have entered into the merits of the decision taken by the finance department. The aforesaid has been established by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh while adjudicating the case of Union Territory of J&K v. Farooq Ahmed Sheikh and others which was decided upon by the single judge bench comprising Justice Sanjeev Kumar on 3rd September 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. The writ petition filed by the respondents came to be decided by the learned Single Judge in its judgment, whereby a direction was issued to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to forward the case of respondent Nos. 1 and 4, complete in all respects, to the administrative department within a period of two weeks with further direction to the administrative department to consider the case of the said respondents for regularization of their services and pass appropriate orders within a further period of one month. Similarly, Principal Secretary to Govt., Department of Forest was directed to consider the cases of respondent Nos. 2 and 3 for regularization of their services, as per the recommendations of appellant No.2 within a period of three months. The Writ Court further directed that the official respondents shall allow the writ petitioners (respondents herein) to continue in services and pay them unpaid wages for the period they had worked and also continue to pay them future wages till decision with regard to their regularization was taken by appellant No.1 (respondent No.1 in the writ petition). When this judgment was not complied with by the appellants herein, respondents filed a contempt petition.

On 25th November, 2019, when the matter came up before the learned Single Judge, Mr. Ayjaz Lone, appearing for the appellants sought further three weeks’ time to comply with order dated 25th September, 2019. Learned Single Judge while granting time to the appellants to file compliance report also provided that in case the compliance was not filed on or before the next date, Commissioner/Secretary to Govt., Forest Department shall have to explain each and every day’s delay in filing compliance commencing from 25th September, 2019. The appellants are aggrieved of both the orders passed by the learned Single Judge on 25.09.2019 and 25.11.2019 and are before us by way of instant appeal.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. It was of the opinion that “In view of the aforesaid compliance, submitted by the appellants, there was no justification to proceed against the appellants nor could learned Single Judge have entered into the merits of the decision taken by the finance department. In view of the above, we hold the appeal maintainable and, accordingly, set aside order dated 25.09.2019 and consequential order dated 25.11.2019, impugned in this appeal. We, however, leave it for the learned Single Judge to proceed against the other respondents like Principal Secretary to Govt., Finance Department, if it is of the view that the judgment of the Writ Court has not been fully complied with.”

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