Supreme Court of India

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday asked the Chief Justice of J&K High Court to look into the grievance pertaining to alleged backdoor appointments of the administrative staff at the J&K High Court, Subordinate Courts, State Judicial Academy, Legal Services Authority, and the e-Court Mission Mode Project.

The bench comprising CJI D Y Chandrachud, Justice P S Narasimha, and Justice J B Pardiwala was hearing a petition filed by J&K Peoples Forum, alleging that relatives of existing members of the staff, as well as present and former judges of the High Court, had been appointed without following the due selection process.

Live Law reported that the bench said, “We will ask the Chief Justice of the High Court to look into the grievance of the petition. Time for filing counter affidavit has been extended. Counter shall be filed by the Registrar of J&K High Court after specifically taking instructions and directions from the CJ of J&K High Court.”

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The petition assails appointments made from 2007 onwards adhoc or through advertisements as “suspicious”. The petition provides a list indicative of the existing members of staff and the judges of the High Court who have extended favour to their kin and kith.

It states, “There are instances where amendments have been made in the existing rules just to facilitate backdoor appointments and or facilitating the appointment of kin of functionaries against higher cadres who otherwise were eligible only for lower cadres and that that too if selected after a regular legal recruitment process.”

The petition alleges that there was a lack of a transparent selection process in making these appointments. It further submits that no public notice or advertisement had been issued and the appointees were chosen in the most arbitrary manner.

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The petition underlines that there were highly qualified candidates who could have been appointed if a fair selection process was adopted. It alleged that a host of daily wagers, working in various courts for more than a decade, had not been regularized. “Only the ones who were close to the officers at the High Courts have been considered for regularization.”

Apart from seeking the quashing of backdoor appointments, the petition seeks indulgence of the apex court for directions to respondents to refrain from making further backdoor appointments at these institutions.

It also implores the apex court to direct inquiry through a credible agency into allegations of backdoor appointments of High Court administrative staff against the officers who have dealt with the process of backdoor appointments as well as those officials who have benefited from such appointments. The petition has been filed through AoR, Raj Kishore Choudhary.

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