According to reliable sources, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha fired three government employees under Article 311(2) (C) of the Indian Constitution, which enables the authorities to dismiss a government employee without a necessary investigation
SRINAGAR (J&K) —
The administration of the J&K Union Territory has fired three government employees for their participation in activities “prejudicial to the security of the State,” in the first such move since the re-organization of Jammu & Kashmir.
According to reliable sources, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha fired three government employees under Article 311(2) (C) of the Indian Constitution, which enables the authorities to dismiss a government employee without a necessary investigation.
Dismissals under Article 311 of Indian Constitution
This is the first time the government of Jammu and Kashmir has used a clause of the Indian Constitution to fire employees. Similar actions were taken against employees in the former State of Jammu and Kashmir under Section 126 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution.
Pertinently, 12 employees were sacked by the J&K government in 2016 for their involvement in ‘anti-national’ activities.
Teacher, Assistant Professor & Naib Tehsildar Sacked
According to reports, the UT administration has fired a government teacher, a Revenue Department employee, and an Assistant Professor based on the recommendation of a high-level committee.
According to a GAD order (Government Order No. 400 JK(GAD) of 2021, Dated 30.04.2021) issued for the dismissal of Idrees Jan, a teacher from Kralpora area of Kupwara district, the Lieutenant Governor is satisfied that Idrees’ actions merit his dismissal from service after considering the ‘facts and circumstances’ of the case and the details available.
It further stated that Lieutenant Governor is satisfied under sub-clause (c) of the proviso to clause (2) of Article 311 of the Constitution of India that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold an enquiry in the case of Idrees Jan.
“Accordingly, the Lieutenant Governor hereby dismisses Idrees Jan, Teacher, Government Middle School, Kralpora, Kupwara from service, with immediate effect,” reads the order.
After the dismissal of teacher in north Kashmir, two more government employees — Dr. Abdul Bari Naik, Assistant Professor, Geography, Government Degree College, Women, Udhampur from Kulgam and Nazir Ahmad Wani, Naib Tehsildar (Revenue Officer) from Bellow Pulwama – were sacked from services in the ‘interest of the security of the State’ on Monday.
The government in an order issued here said that the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, after considering the ‘facts and circumstances’ of the case, observed that the on the basis of the information available, the activities of Nazir Ahmad Wani, Naib Tehsildar, Pulwama-II, are such as to warrant his dismissal from service.
“The Lieutenant Governor is satisfied under sub-clause (c) of the provision to clause (2) of Article 311 of the Constitution of India that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold an inquiry in the case of Nazir Ahmad Wani, Naib Tehsildar, Pulwama – II,” the order reads.
“Accordingly, the Lieutenant Governor hereby dismisses Nazir Ahmad Wani from service with immediate effect,” it said.
A similar order was issued concerning Dr. Abdul Bari Naik, Assistant Professor, Geography, Government Degree College, Women, Udhampur.
Meanwhile, attempts to obtain the views of the J&K Government on the issue were unsuccessful because officials from the General Administration Department did not respond to repeated phone calls.
The Special Task Force with Extraordinary Sacking Powers
It is in place to mention here that a Special Task Force (STF) was constituted recently by the J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration to “scrutinize cases of employees suspected of activities requiring action under Article 311 (2) (c)”.
According to Order number 355 issued by J&K’s General Administration Department, the task force will be headed by J&K’s intelligence chief R.R. Swain, who served for a decade in the Research and Analysis Wing before returning to J&K.
The STF will “compile records of such employees, wherever necessary and to refer it” for action to a committee headed by the UT’s Chief Secretary.
The committee was set up last year to formulate the procedure for invoking Article 311 (2) (c) against employees who are found involved in criminal offences.
The grounds for an employee’s dismissal “shall be supported by…interrogation report and other collateral evidence to justify dispensing with the holding of an inquiry in the interest of the security of the State,” Lieutenant Governor Sinha said in an order last year.
Political Parties Criticize the Move as Autocratic, Dictatorial
After the dismissal of employees by the government, the regional political parties have severely criticized the administration.
Jammu Kashmir Apni Party President Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari termed the expulsion of government teacher from the services as an unfortunate and avoidable decision, that has “deprived a poor family of its livelihood in highly pressing times.”
He said it is ironical that the accused teacher was not provided any opportunity to speak or defend himself against the charges levelled against him. Bukhari said that “the order smacks of an autocratic tone,” thus eliminating all privileges enjoyed by a citizen living in the world’s largest democracy which has a free and fair judicial set-up in place.
Similar views were expressed by other political parties including National Conference. Jammu and Kashmir National Conference asked the administration to call an end to the Special Task Force (STF), saying the measure will push the people towards alienation. The party’s senior leader and former minister Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan said the ‘reckless’ decision has sent jitters across scores of employees who, he said, are at the front of the battle to combat COVID-19.
Choudhary further stated that the rushed measure has deprived three families of livelihood when the community is going through a pandemic. “Denying the legal recourse to the terminated employees is what frets every saner voice,” he said.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti likened the government order on the sacking of employees among “misplaced priorities” by the administration.
“In the middle of a pandemic, GOI should focus on saving lives instead of firing govt employees on flimsy grounds in Kashmir,” Mehbooba said in a tweet.
She added, “No wonder its misplaced priorities have converted India into shamshanghats & kabristans. The living continue to suffer & the dead are deprived of dignity.”
All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned what it termed as dismissal spree being undertaken by the J&K Government of its employees, in ‘most dictatorial manner’.
“These dismissals are being done by invoking the recently passed draconian law that states ‘that in the interest of the security of the State’ without holding any inquiry, the Lieutenant Governor can dismiss any employee with immediate effect,” the statement said.
APHC said that while the people of J&K like the rest of the world are dealing with the deadly virus and daily cases and fatalities are alarmingly rising, those in power in J&K, instead of mitigating people’s sufferings caused by the pandemic, are pursuing such ruthless dismissals.
APHC asked the government to revoke these draconian orders and stop harassing and intimidating the Government employees in this manner.