Supreme Court orders reinstatement of watchman after 20 yrs

The Indian Express | 1 day ago | 24-09-2022 | 12:50 am

Supreme Court orders reinstatement of watchman after 20 yrs

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the reinstatement of a watchman, who was employed with the Kutch district panchayat and whose service was terminated in 2002 , within six weeks. The bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat directed the management authority to pay him back the wages for the period from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2022 .The apex court also adversely observed against the district panchayat, noting that had the Kutch district panchayat accepted the orders of labour court and Gujarat High Court’s single judge bench in 2010 and 2011 respectively, ordering for the workman’s reinstatement, the watchman — Jeetubha Khansangji Jadeja — “would have been spared the agony of waiting for more than 10 years.”“In such circumstances, the denial of backwages, has resulted in punishing him, although the delay is attributable to the judicial process. However, the respondent management cannot be absolved of the primary responsibility in its litigative proclivity,” the bench observed in its order. The SC bench noted that Jadeja could have not been made to suffer “on account of the management’s obdurate attempt to have the relief set aside”.Jadeja was appointed in 1992 as “chokidar” by the Kutch district panchayat with a monthly salary of Rs ,2400, and was last working in the same position at Shirai Dam in Mundra Taluka. His service was terminated by the management in December 2002, which, as per Jadeja, was done without following due process. Jadeja had alleged during the litigation at the lower court that his demand for seniority, for making him a permanent employee and for increasing his salary, had prompted the termination. He moved a Bhuj labour court challenging his termination in 2003 and the court in 2010 had ordered for Jadeja’s reinstatement with continuity of service without back wages of the interim period. Before the labour court, Jadeja had submitted that the management did not maintain any seniority list and that employees junior to him were retained. On the other hand, the panchayat had submitted that Jadeja had been out of employment for over 20 years and in such circumstances, “directing reinstatement was not in the interest of justice.”The labour court’s order of reinstatement was challenged before the Gujarat HC by the management in 2011 wherein a single-judge court had upheld the labour court’s verdict and dismissed the district panchayat’s petition. However the district panchayat management had appealed against the order before a division bench of the Gujarat HC in 2011. A division bench first dismissed the petition in 2014 without going into the merits, following which the district panchayat moved SC in 2016 which remitted the matter back to HC for fresh consideration. Upon reconsideration by a division bench of the HC, the labour court’s order and the single judge bench of HC’s orders were set aside in 2021. The court had however directed the panchayat to pay a lumpsum amount of Rs 1 lakh to Jadeja. The SC bench in its verdict observed that the HC’s order for payment of Rs 1 lakh was “not warranted in the circumstances of this case” as a substitute to the relief of reinstatement.

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Rs 58 crore loss to Gujarat due to inappropriate land allotment to Adani firm: PAC report
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | 23-09-2022 | 11:50 am
The Indian Express
1 day ago | 23-09-2022 | 11:50 am

In its fifth report tabled before the Gujarat Assembly Wednesday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has noted that owing to the inappropriate classification of forest land transferred to Adani Chemicals in Kutch for Mundra Port and SEZ by the forest and environment department, the company paid the state government Rs 58.64 crore less.The PAC has recommended to recover the full amount from the company in three months and to take action against officials concerned for inappropriate classification of the land, causing loss to the state government and “undue” benefit to the company.In its report, the PAC — headed by Congress MLA Punja Vansh — has cited an audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India that noted the “undue” benefit of Rs 58.64 crore to the company due to the inappropriate classification of land.As per the PAC report, in connection with a proposal of Adani Chemicals Limited, the Central government had in 2004 given an in-principle approval to allocate 1,840 hectares and 168.42 hectares of land in Mundra and Dhrab villages respectively of Kutch district. The Supreme Court, in a judgment dated March 28, 2008, classified the forests of India in six situational categories while also fixing its net present value (NPV).The report states that in Jan-uary 2009, the state government presented a new proposed scheme of Messrs Adani before the central government for its sanction and the Central government had granted an in-principle approval in February 2009.As per the judgment of the Supreme Court regarding fixing NPV as per six categories of forests, the ones in Kutch were classified under Eco Class II (with NPV of Rs 7.30 lakh per hectare) and Eco Class IV (with NPV of Rs 4.30 lakh per hectare).In December 2008, the Conservator of Forests, Bhuj, had in his inspection report observed that the land in question was mudflat and the creek area was full of mangroves, the report said. Despite this, it adds that the deputy conservator of forest (Kutch East) had considered this land under Eco Class IV and recovered Rs 87.97 crore as NPV of 2008.42 hectare forest land from the company.The PAC report further noted that the forest & environment department had in a written reply sent to the committee stated that the transferred land indeed comes under Eco Class IV.The report also notes its meeting dated September 25, 2019, in which a representative of the department had denied that the land in question falls under Eco Class II. It also stated that the NPV of the land, as Eco Class IV classification, was fixed as per the 2008 judgment of the Supreme Court that was recovered from the company after being approved by the Central government.The PAC records, “The committee believes that instead of recovering NPV as per Eco Class II from Messrs Adani for the change of purpose of forest land for Mundra Port and SEZ, the department has recovered NPV as per Eco Class IV. This decision of the department has resulted in Rs 58.67 crore less recovery to the government.”It has recommended to take action against responsible officer/officials for inappropriate classification of land, to recover NPV as per Eco Class II from the company within three months and to inform the committee after recovery.

Rs 58 crore loss to Gujarat due to inappropriate land allotment to Adani firm: PAC report
Gujarat’s first new generation cooperative eyes Rs 1,700 crore turnover
Times of India | 1 week ago | 18-09-2022 | 07:09 am
Times of India
1 week ago | 18-09-2022 | 07:09 am

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Gujarat’s first new generation cooperative eyes Rs 1,700 crore turnover