HC pulls up Union Secy for disobeying order

CHANDIGARH: Censuring the Union Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, for disobeying a judicial order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed him to pay Rs 10,000 from his pocket.

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28

Censuring the Union Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, for disobeying a judicial order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed him to pay Rs 10,000 from his pocket.

“He is the seniormost officer and must be presumed to know that under the Constitution... orders of the court have to be obeyed implicitly. For that matter, any court should not be trifled with,” Justice PB Bajanthri ruled.

The reprimand came after Justice Bajanthri took exception to the submission of an application for exemption from personal appearance on the date of hearing itself, and that too through a subordinate.

The developments took place on a petition filed by The Board of Trustees, through the Jalandhar Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, against the Employees Provident Fund Appellant Tribunal and another respondent.

The Bench was earlier told that the functioning of two Central Government Industrial Tribunals-cum-Labour Courts had been affected with the resignation of the regular incumbent in one, and the presiding officer’s superannuation in the other.

The Bench had then directed the counsel for the Union of India to seek instruction whether ad hoc arrangements could be made to run the two courts at least three days in a week to entertain appeals and applications.

The counsel appearing for the respondent (Union of India) subsequently submitted that there was no response despite repeated communications to the ministry. The Bench then directed the Secretary of the ministry concerned to appear in person.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, Justice Bajanthri said it was the bounden duty of the officer concerned to make the application for exemption in advance, and not on the date fixed, after his personal appearance was ordered by a court.

“Disobedience of the court order shakes the very foundation and erodes faith and confidence reposed by the people in the judiciary. The Secretary has deprecated the order… Therefore, he is liable to pay a cost of Rs 10,000 from his pocket,” the Judge said.

Setting a four-week deadline, Justice Bajanthri directed the remittance of the cost in the High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre. The case will now come up in the second week of April.

Petition on PF 

The developments took place on a petition filed by The Board of Trustees, through the Jalandhar Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, against the Employees Provident Fund Appellant Tribunal and another respondent.

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