HC rules LRD flouted Service Rules
Rejects appeal to annul interim order
DIMAPUR, JUNE 28: The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court on Tuesday rejected the explanation offered by Land Resources Department for its failure to comply with Service Rules while recommending an officer for the post of Deputy Director.
In the same order, issued by Justice Nelson Sailo, it also rejected the appeal made by Biren Chettri, the District Project Officer of Mon, to vacate (annul or set aside) the Court’s interim order issued on March 30.
In that order, the Judge had forbidden the Department from filling up the ‘third post of Deputy Director’ from the Technical Wing without the leave of the Court.
The case pertains to a writ petition filed on March 29 by three District Project Officers ~ Tepunol Yore, I Acato Chishi and Alemla Aier ~ and one Assistant Project Officer, P Lipichem Sangtam.
On Tuesday, Chettri filed an interlocutory application contending that the interim order was passed ex parte, without the Court hearing him.
His Counsel, S Borgohain, submitted that through the writ petition, the four other officers are trying to enforce an agreement which was said to have been signed between the representatives of the Technical Wing and the Extension Wing of the Department and also the Director and Joint Director.
He further submitted that since the Nagaland Land Resources Development Department Service Rules, 2008 has been framed in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India, the said agreement cannot override the statutory rules.
Therefore, he contended that the interim order should be vacated or suitably modified.
On the other hand, when the case was heard on June 27, the Counsel for the petitioners, A Zhimomi had argued that the contending parties had approached the Court previously too by filing writ petitions.
“He submits that WP(C)/40(K)/2020 was filed by the officers from the Extension Wing, while WP(C)/211(K)/2019 was filed by the officers from the Technical Wing. In view of the consensus arrived at by the rival parties through the agreement dated September 2, 2020, both the writ petitions were withdrawn.
“As per the agreement, both the officers of the Technical Wing and Extension Wing should be given due opportunity to be considered for promotion to the next higher grade, i.e., the post of Deputy Director, in the ratio of 60:40. However, without giving any importance to such agreement, the State respondents have now proceeded to fill up the said post by considering only the eligible candidate from the Technical Wing. He, therefore, submits that the application should be rejected”, it stated.
Also, on June 27, the Court had directed V Suokhrie, the Additional Attorney General, to obtain instructions as to why only one name was forwarded for consideration of promotion to the lone vacant post of Deputy Director.
“Today, she has produced a letter dated March 25, 2022 of the Director of Land Resources, Government of Nagaland, to the Secretary to the Government of Nagaland, Department of Land Resources, resubmitting the name of only one person for the vacant post of Deputy Director ~ the name is that of respondent No. 5 (Biren Chettri).
“Along with the said letter, the panel-list comprising the name of three officers including respondent No. 5 is also enclosed. Rule 11(2)(a) of the Nagaland Land Resources Development Department Service Rules, 2008 provides that the final seniority list of the cadre from which promotion is to be considered has to be sent to the Commission for arranging a meeting for making selection. The list of the candidates forwarded should contain at least thrice the number of existing vacancies”, it stated.
However, the Court noted that only one name has been proposed “although the enclosure to the communication contains a panel-list comprising of three names, which only appears to be an empty formality”.
“Therefore, in the prima facie view of this Court, the method adopted by the official respondents is not in terms of the relevant provisions of the Rules of 2008. The case of Uma Devi (Supra) and Arun Kumar Roy (Supra) relied upon by the learned Counsel for the applicant only supports the prima facie view of this Court. As such, this Court declines from vacating the interim order dated March 30, 2022”, read the order.
(Page News Service)