Srinagar, Feb 4: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Srinagar has sought a fresh affidavit from J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) with regard to compliance of its orders related to a dental surgeon whose appointment was cancelled as withdrawn by the Commission after 18 years.
“ We adjourn this matter for a period of 12 days with the direction to the respondents to submit a fresh affidavit/status report regarding compliance of the orders of this court passed from time to time”, a bench of M SLatif Member (J) and Prasant Kumar Member (A) said in its order.
The Tribunal said it adjourned the matter in the interest of justice, Keeping in view the submissions of the Secretary - PSC and also considering the reply affidavit filed by the Administrative Secretary, Health & Medical Education Department.
The Court observed that in the affidavit filed by the Secretary PSC it has admitted that the Commission was in receipt of a communication from Health and Medical Education Department but the officer has expressed his inability to proceed further in the matter as the PSC was not manned by a Chairman. The Tribunal was hearing a case wherein it had earlier put on hold J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC)’s order cancelling appointment of a dental surgeon, A A Mughal, after 18 years as “withdrawn”.The Tribunal had also directed authorities to accommodate the dental surgeon, Dr Shwiti Gupta in view of the J&K High Court’s orders in this regard.
The PSC had issued an advertisement notice on June 23, 2003, inviting applications from eligible candidates for the post of Dental Surgeon in the Health & Family Welfare Department.
Mughal, being eligible, applied for the post and after completing the selection process, thePSC issued a select list on September 29, 2005, wherein she also figured in the list and is working as a Dental Surgeon with the department for the last 18 years. In the meantime, Dr Gupta questioned her non-selection as she was entitled for six more points, three each for experience and sports. Finally, the authorities passed an order on November 25, 2020, whereby the claim of Dr Gupta was rejected. She challenged the order before CAT Bench Jammu and her plea was allowed with a direction to the authorities to appoint her to the post of Dental Surgeon.
In an appeal, the authorities challenged the order before the High Court, which was dismissed by the Division Bench on December 15, 2021. Subsequent to the dismissal of the appeal, the candidate was appointed to the post of Dental Surgeon and the appointment of Mughal was cancelled as withdrawn by the JKPSC on July 20 last year. Aggrieved by the order, Mughal filed a petition before CAT with the contention that she had been working without any break for 18 years.
The Tribunal observed that after it was brought on record before the High Court by Mughal that 17 vacancies of the post of Dental Surgeons were available which had not been notified to the Commission, the court, it said, had said she could easily be accommodated to any of the said vacancies without disturbing the selection and appointment of any candidate.
With regard to the order dated 26-12-2023 passed by a division bench of the High Court, advocate Mir Suhail representing Mughal said the Division Bench has requested the Tribunal to decide the matter as expeditiously as possible.
“This court is primarily concerned about the compliance of it’s Orders, that too, when the same are upheld by the High Court of J&K,” the Tribunal said, adding, “It is none of our concern to get into the departmental wrangles, delays or otherwise attributable to the official lethargies for whatever reason”.
Disapproving the conduct of Administrative Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department, the Tribunal said though he might have been busy, it was expected of the said officer that he should have, at least, the courtesy to apprise the court about his busy schedule. Eventually, the court sought a fresh affidavit.
“As regards the personal appearance of the Commissioner Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department, as ordered in terms of order dated 20-12-2023, the same shall remain intact”.