Ascertain Reasons Behind Suspension of J&K Lecturer: SC
The Supreme Court ordered the Attorney General R Venkata Ramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the suspension of J&K lecturer Zahoor Ahmad Bhat after he appeared before the top court over the abrogation of Article 370.
Bhat, a senior political science lecturer at a government school in Srinagar who was suspended on August 25, argued that the proximity between his suspension and his appearance before the SC makes the development “suspect”. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal raised the issue of the lecturer’s suspension. He informed the court that Bhat was suspended a day after he appeared in the Supreme Court.
But the Solicitor General said what is reported in the newspaper may not be the whole truth. However, Sibal said it’s not only the newspaper, but the order itself which was issued on August 25. Mehta said there are other issues, such as appearing in various courts. Bhat’s lawyer argued that his client should have then been suspended earlier. “Why now? This is not fair. This is not the way our democracy should function.”
The order highlights that Bhat, labeled a delinquent officer, has been placed under suspension with immediate effect for violation of provisions of J&K Civil Service Regulations, J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules, and J&K Leave Rules.
As such the Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud directed the AG to see what has happened. “Somebody who appears in this court is suspended. Have a look into it. Just talk to the Lieutenant Governor.” The CJI said if there is something from this, then it’s different, but wondered why in such close succession appearance before the court.
The bench also questioned the timing of the suspension. “Proximity of his appearance before this court in Article 370 matter and the suspension is something which is causing concern. If the reference to his appearance before the court is there in the order of his suspension, there is some problem…the timing appears a little suspect.”
But Mehta said he has checked with the officials in J&K and the reason to suspend Bhat appears to be something else, and not because he argued in the court. He acknowledged that the timing was not proper and that he would look into it again.