SRINAGAR: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday directed the Chief Justice (CJ) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) High Court to investigate complaints related to the alleged recruitment of administrative staff through unauthorized means at the J&K High Court, Subordinate Courts, State Judicial Academy, Legal Services Authority, and the e-Court Mission Mode Project.
During a hearing on a petition filed by J&K Peoples Forum, a bench consisting of CJI D Y Chandrachud, Justice P S Narasimha, and Justice J B Pardiwala was informed that the petition alleged that the appointment of administrative staff at the J&K High Court, Subordinate Courts, State Judicial Academy, Legal Services Authority, and the e-Court Mission Mode Project were not carried out in accordance with due selection procedures. The petition specifically claimed that the relatives of existing staff members, as well as present and former judges of the High Court, were appointed through unofficial channels.
The bench said: “We will ask the Chief Justice of the High Court to look into the grievance of the petition. Time for filing counter affidavit has been extended. Counter shall be filed by the Registrar of J&K High Court after specifically taking instructions and directions from the CJ of J&K High Court.”
The petition filed challenges appointments made from 2007 onwards that were either temporary or made through advertisements, citing them as “suspicious.” Additionally, the petition presents a list that indicates the current staff members and High Court judges who allegedly provided preferential treatment to their relatives and acquaintances during the recruitment process.
It states: “There are instances where amendments have been made in the existing rules just to facilitate backdoor appointments and or or facilitating the appointment of kin of functionaries against higher cadres who otherwise were eligible only for lower cadres and that that too if selected after a regular legal recruitment process.”
According to the petition, the appointments were made without a transparent selection process. It claims that there was no public notice or advertisement issued, and the selection of appointees was arbitrary. The petition emphasizes that there were several highly qualified candidates who could have been selected if a fair and just selection process was followed.
The petition contended that a large number of daily wagers employed in various courts for over a decade had not been regularised, with only those who had close connections with High Court officers being considered for regularisation.
Furthermore, the petition demanded that the Supreme Court quash these backdoor appointments and direct the respondents to refrain from making any more such appointments. Additionally, the petition implored the apex court to direct a credible agency to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of backdoor appointments of administrative staff in the High Court against both the officials involved in the process of making such appointments and those who have benefited from them.
The petition has been filed through AoR, Raj Kishore Choudhary. (Live Law)