SURPRISED TO know that seniority lists of various cadres of employees working on the establishment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have not been finalised yet, the High Court has directed its Registrar General to immediately initiate steps for framing seniority lists in each cadre.
“This is not a very happy situation obtaining in an institution, which is the fountainhead of justice within the states it administers the laws. It is an obligation and a duty of the High Court to draw and frame seniority lists in accordance with the rules in each cadre of service and, therefore, I think it would be fair and proper that this petition should be expanded beyond the purview of clerks to all other categories of employees, so that their names find place in a final seniority list,” remarked Justice Rajiv Narain Raina. There are over 2,000 employees in the HC.
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At the same time, Justice Raina clarified that in the meantime, promotions would not be held up only on account of non-finalisation of seniority lists so that work was not impeded, but in the promotion orders a caution be entered that the promotion would remain subject to finalisation of the seniority list. Petitioner Paramjit’s advocate Puneet Gupta submitted that a common grievance of the employees on the establishment of High Court is that in different cadres seniority lists are not in place, so no one knows where one stands for the purposes of promotion. The court also directed that apart from submitting a compliance report, the Registrar General would submit the view of the High Court as to why this exercise of finalisation of seniority list should not be extended to cover the employees of subordinate courts in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.
With regard to finalisation of the seniority list of High Court employees, the court said that in the first instance, the tentative seniority lists might be placed within a month on the noticeboard or by circulation among staff or by creating a special portal on the High Court website. Thereafter, objections would be invited from employees likely to be affected within six weeks’ period and to decide those objections within next three months. The seniority list of each cadre of employees would be placed on the High Court website within a period of eight months from now.