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Village Guards’ salary: High Court pulls up Additional Chief Secretary

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, AUGUST 5: The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has given four weeks to Sentiyanger Imchen, Additional Chief Secretary and Finance Commissioner, to show cause as to why the Court should not initiate appropriate proceedings against him for non-compliance with its orders in connection with the ongoing hearing on Village Guards’ wage.
During a hearing held on August 4, the Counsel for the Village Guards Association of Nagaland, Taka Masa, submitted that though in pursuance of the Court order passed on December 5 last year an expert committee was re-constituted with respondent No. 2 (Sentiyanger Imchen) as its Chairman, however as directed by another order dated March 14, 2023, Sentiyanger has neither filed any compliance affidavit within the time prescribed nor any Interlocutory application been filed for extension of time for compliance of said order.
He pointed out that almost two months have lapsed since June 5, which was the time within which Sentiyanger was supposed to file said compliance affidavit.
“On the other hand, learned Additional AG, Mr. Imti Imsong has submitted that he is appearing in this case for the first time today and earlier this case was handled by some other Counsel and on that ground he prays for some time to take necessary steps required to comply with the direction passed on March 14, 2023”, stated an order issued by Justice Mridul Kumar Kalita.
The Judge noted that the March 14 order had clearly mentioned June 5 as the outer limit for the Chairman of the expert committee to file the compliance affidavit.
“It also appears that thereafter, this matter was listed on June 8, 2023, and then today. However, except the oral submission made by the learned Additional AG, no steps have been taken by the Counsel who was defending the respondent No. 2 earlier in this case. Hence, prima facie there appears to be non-compliance of the direction passed by this Court on March 14, 2023 as well as December 5, 2022.
“Unless this Court’s order are implemented and followed, the efficacy of Court’s order would not be there and in view of that, the respondent No. 2 is hereby directed to show cause as to why appropriate proceedings should not be drawn up for non compliance of the order dated December 5, 2022 as well as order dated March 14, 2023 passed in this contempt petition within a period of four weeks from today”, the order read.
According to the Judge, the Court also expects Sentiyanger to comply with the directives of the two orders before the next hearing of the case ~ listed on September 11.
The litigation pertains to a contempt petition filed by the Village Guards’ Association of Nagaland against the State Government and the Union Home Ministry (NE Division).
When the case was heard on June 8, the Court had noted that the instant contempt proceedings was initiated for compliance with the directives passed in the judgment dated January 29, 2021 passed by the Division Bench in Writ Appeal No. 1(K)/2018.
“From a perusal of paragraph No. 29 of the said judgment, it reveals that the State Government was directed to constitute an expert committee to examine the various aspects of the matter. The said constitution was to be made within a period of 3 weeks from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the said judgment. Further to that, it is also seen that there was a direction to complete the exercise within a period of 4 months from the date such constitution of the Committee.
“Ms. V Suokhire, the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent Nos. 2, 4 & 5, submits that the Committee in question was constituted and thereafter again it was reconstituted. Ms. V Suokhire, the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the said respondents, admits that the Committee has not yet completed the exercise as directed by the Division Bench of this Court. She further submits that on June 13, 2023, the said Committee would have its final sitting”, the June 8 order stated.
(Page News Service)