Officer's oath-taking false statement prima facie Court instructions have to be obeyed with kindness, not force (CAT
Officer's oath-taking false statement prima facie Court instructions have to be obeyed with kindness, not force (CAT

Dec. 13, Srinagar: As no one is above the law, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) upheld an official who had “made prima facie a false statement on oath” and said that “court orders are to be complied with grace and not with a rod.”

A division bench consisting of Members (J) M S Latif and (A) Prasant Kumar noted during a case that it had previously “withdrawn”—that is, postponed—the decision from the J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC) terminating the 18-year appointment of A A Mughal, a dental surgeon.


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The panel had further instructed the authorities to provide accommodations for Dr. Shwiti Gupta, the dental surgeon, in light of the directives issued by the J&K High Court.

In the appeal before the CAT, it was disclosed that on June 23, 2003, the commission published a notice of advertising asking qualified applicants to apply for the position of dental surgeon in the Health and Family Welfare Department.

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Close Mughal applied for the position since she was eligible, and on September 29, 2005, the JKPSC released a select list on which she was included.

She then started working for the department in 2005 and has been a dental surgeon for the last eighteen years.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gupta questioned why she wasn’t chosen since she should have received six additional points—three for experience and three for athletics.

On November 25, 2020, the authorities finally issued an order rejecting Dr. Gupta’s allegation.

She contested the ruling before CAT Bench Jammu, and the court granted her request with the instruction that she be appointed as a dental surgeon by the relevant authorities.

The Division Bench of the High Court denied the appeal filed by the authorities on December 15, 2021, after the ruling was contested by them.

The applicant was assigned to the position of dental surgeon after the appeal’s decision, and on July 20 of this year, the JKPSC canceled Mughal’s appointment, citing withdrawal.

Mughal filed a case with CAT, claiming that she had been working continuously for 18 years, after being upset by the ruling.

The tribunal noted that following Mughal’s declaration to the High Court that there were 17 open positions for dental surgeons that had not been reported to the commission, the court stated that she could readily be appointed to any of these positions without interfering with the process of choosing and appointing a candidate.

As per the High Court’s ruling dated December 15, 2021, and the explanation provided by the PSC in its meeting on February 25, 2020, the CAT had asked the authorities to provide accommodations for Dr. Gupta.

The tribunal noted, citing the statement of facts submitted by the Deputy Secretary of the Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Department, that the deponent had disclosed that the Mughals’ cancellation of the appointment was stayed and that the tribunal’s order could not be carried out because Dr. Gupta had already been appointed in accordance with a government order dated August 4, 2023.

“The revised recommendation dated August 19, 2023, passed by the Public Service Commission has been stayed by the tribunal via an interim order dated September 22, 2023, as the deponent once again admits,” the statement said.

“The factual statement demonstrates that the parties involved were aware of the directive issued by this tribunal, and yet they disregarded the court’s orders,” the panel said.

It noted that the division bench of the High Court had previously ordered in its judgment dated December 15, 2021, that there were 17 openings for dental surgeons that had not been announced by the commission. As a result, the respondent could readily be accommodated for any of these openings without interfering with the selection of candidates using either the 2005 select list or any other select list created subsequently.

The panel declared that the members had not only disregarded its directive but also disregarded the directives issued by the High Court’s division bench.

The tribunal noted that the Deputy Secretary of the H&ME Department was supposed to be impartial and independent, but it also said that the official owed duties to the government, the High Court’s division bench, and the tribunal.

“He is liable to be disregarded for having knowingly made a false statement under oath, misleading this court, and tainting the legal system,” the court said. “The judicial directives must be followed with tact rather than force, as everyone is subject to the law, regardless of its level of difficulty.”

It said that this tribunal can right the wrongs done to the petitioner and return the situation to what it was before by using its authority to bring about contempt proceedings.

The tribunal took notice of the declaration made at the bar by the Deputy Secretary of the H&ME Department, who said he would follow the High Court’s decisions and the tribunal’s directives in word and spirit. As a result, the tribunal granted him a week.

“A lenient view is taken in this view of the matter,” the tribunal said, ordering the officer to show up for the hearing on the following occasion.



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