Terming the officials as “very arrogant”, the Supreme Court on Saturday dismissed an appeal by the Uttar Pradesh government and paved the way for the arrest of the state’s finance secretary and additional chief secretary (revenue), against whom the Allahabad High Court granted bail. Warrant was issued. Delayed and partial compliance of orders.
The matter pertains to regularization of service and payment of arrears to a “Collection Amin” at Allahabad.
The High Court on November 1 observed that the authorities are treating the court as a “playground” and have refused to pay arrears of salary to a person who was earlier denied the rightful claim of regularization of service.
“Since the Respondents (Officers) have knowingly misled the (High) Court and violated the undertaking given by the Additional Advocate General in not paying the arrears of salary to the Petitioners, this Court records the agony and anguish about the reprehensible conduct of the Respondents. and accordingly, holds that the Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) and Sanjay Kumar, the then District Magistrate, presently as Secretary (Finance), Government of U.P., Lucknow, hold bailable warrants to appear before this Court on 15th November Issuance is a fit case. Let bailable warrants be issued against…’
The state government, which moved the apex court to save top officials from being arrested, could not get relief as a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said, “You deserve all this. Even more.”
“What are you arguing here in this matter. The High Court should have ordered the arrest by now… We feel there was a need for a more stringent punishment. The High Court has been gentle with you. See, you are deprived of an employee of your dues. You did nothing to comply with the orders. The High Court has been very kind to you… You have no respect for the court. This additional chief secretary looks very arrogant. It also includes Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli,” the bench said.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the officers, submitted that the service of petitioner Bhuneshwar Prasad Tiwari has been regularized as “Sangraha Amin” and the juniors who were given regular employment before him have been removed. And only the issue of payment of arrears of salary remained.
Urging the court to take a softer stand in the matter, the law officer said, “Your lordship may not accept this view.”
“These are all matters of record and we are not saying anything which is not part of the record. Look at this, despite the court order, this additional chief secretary says I will not give relaxation in age,” a clearly Angry CJI inspected. The bench said the authorities in every possible way opposed the compliance and they deserve what they get.
“After you have been arrested and produced, you tell all this (argument) to the High Court. Dismissed,” the bench said.
The matter pertains to deprivation of seniority benefit and consequent regularization of service to Tiwari as ‘Sangraha Amin’ in 2017 by state government officials.
Several interim orders were passed by the High Courts to ensure that the Class IV employee gets justice in the form of regularization of service and arrears of previous salary.
The High Court had noted that Sanjay Kumar, presently posted as Secretary (Finance), allegedly did not do the required work despite repeated court orders.
“It appears that the State Officers of the rank of Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) have treated the Court as a playground which is evident from the fact that despite the undertaking given by the Additional Advocate General, the Respondent has refused to pay the arrears of salary to the Petitioner. to which he is also entitled, especially in view of the fact that it is admitted on record that the petitioner has been denied regularization due to the mistake and inaction of the then District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar, “The High Court had said.
According to the High Court, Kumar had “very negligently rejected the claim of the petitioner on the ground that since the process of regularization has been completed, the claim of the petitioner will be considered whenever the next process is initiated”.
The Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) reviewed its order and granted age relaxation despite passing the order of November 25, accepting the fact that Tiwari was not regularized, and thereafter he was given the benefit of regularization, yet The authorities refused to pay him arrears of salary, despite the fact that the employee had been illegally refused regularization, it had said.
“This court is appalled and hurt by the appalling conduct of the defendants in adjourning the matter by giving an affidavit before this court through the Additional Advocate General and yet they voluntarily scuttled the undertaking by denying the arrears of salary to the petitioner,” the High The court had said while issuing bailable warrants against the officers.
“Place the matter on the 15th November, 2021, on which the District Magistrate, Prayagraj shall be present and a copy of this order shall be forwarded to the concerned Chief Judicial Magistrate for compliance,” he had ordered.