Calcutta High Court. Express Photo By Partha Paul
The Calcutta High Court has rapped the West Bengal government for failing to implement an order it passed 28 years ago on restoring employment benefits to a reinstated police constable.
A division bench of the high court directed the state Advocate General in the presence of the West Bengal Home secretary that it has to retrieve relevant records of Hasibar Rahaman, who has since retired from service, by August 13, when the matter will come up for hearing again.
The bench observed that it is a matter of regret that the state government is “showing thumb” to a judgement of the high court and sitting tight over it for years in settling the petitioner’s seniority and arrears of salary. Rahaman was appointed as constable in the State Armed Police (SAP) 11th Battalion in June 1981, but was discharged from service in October 1982, following a showcause on a pending criminal case against him which he had allegedly suppressed.
Following his acquittal in the criminal case, Rahaman moved the high court, which set aside his discharge on May 31, 1990 and directed the SAP to reinstate him as well as treating him to be on duty for the entire period from the date of discharge to the date of reinstatement. The court had also directed that Rahaman would be entitled to all employment benefits during the period and arrears of his salary would be cleared within four weeks of communication of the order.
A division bench comprising Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar, while hearing Rahaman’s petition earlier this week, noted that though he was reinstated in February 1991, neither his seniority was determined nor his arrears of salary were paid. The court asked the Home secretary to be present before it on June 6 with all records to show a review petition of the order is pending before it in connection with the 1990 order, as claimed by the state lawyer before the division bench.
On June 6, the state Advocate General Kishore Dutta, representing Home secretary Atri Bhattacharya who was present in court, prayed for time to find out the relevant documents since it was a very old matter. The state has claimed that a review petition against the order had been filed in 1991, but was unable to produce records.
The petitioner Rahaman had also moved the State Administrative Tribunal in 2014 seeking fixation of his seniority and to get his arrears, but the application had been disposed of by SAT declining relief to him.
Challenging the SAT order of 2017, Rahaman moved the division bench and prayed for direction to the state for compliance of the 1990 order of the high court. The division bench granted the state time till August 13 to find out records.