Updated: September 26, 2015 2:08:15 am
The Gujarat High Court has sacked its 89 employees recruited by the former Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) V M Sahai, who in the last days in office had stirred a controversy by issuing notices to 27 sitting and retired judges of the high court, including current ACJ Jayant Patel on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) involving land allotment to these judges by the state government.
“Yes, we have terminated the employees,” said Registrar General B N Karia. He said that the decision was taken by the committee (of five judges) and subsequently order of termination was passed. These employees belonged to class-III and class-IV grade such as peons and clerks, whose services were on a temporary basis.
The move comes following issuance of show cause notices to a total of 94 employees recruited by justice Sahai using the special power granted to Chief Justice under Article 229. It was found that the appointments were made “without using public advertisement” and “no selection procedure was undertaken.”
Following the notices 11 of the employees, who are from Allahabad, a native of Sahai, resigned from the posts which have also been accepted by the court. The remaining five employees were granted relief as their appointment was based on compensatory ground.
In the notices sent to all the individual employees it was stated, citing a Supreme Court judgment, that “even under the constitution, the power of appointment granted to the Chief Justice under Article 229 (1) is subject to Article 16 (1) which guarantees equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment…”
The notice further added, “the law can be summarized to the effect that powers under Article 229 (2) of the constitution can’t be exercised by the Chief Justice in an unfettered and arbitrary manner. Appointments should be made giving adherence to the provisions of Article 14 and 16 of the constitution and/or such rules as made by the legislative.”
Justice Sahai retired on August 13, two days after he took up a suo motu PIL praying cancellation of allotment of lands to 27 retired and sitting judges of the court. During the hearing justice Sahai raised a storm of controversy after he remarked in open court that there were many scams in the high court.
It was during the hearing when Advocate General Kamal Trivedi first raised the alleged recruitment scam involving justice Sahai when the latter, remarked, “there are several others scams, but I don’t didn’t want to open a “Pandora’s box.”
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