STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey on Wednesday dismissed petition of Parvez Ahmed Nengroo, challenging communication No FD/Bkg/21/2019 dated June 8, 2019 addressed by Additional Secretary to the Government, Finance Department of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, to Company Secretary, J&K Bank Limited, conveying decisions of the Government taken by it in exercise of the powers under Article 69(iii) of Articles of Association of the Bank, that the petitioner shall cease to be Director on Board of Directors of Bank and, consequently, be no longer the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Board of Directors of Bank (the Board), and further about nominating R K Chhibber, as Director on the Board and his appointment as the interim Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Board/Bank.Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey observed that stand so taken on behalf of petitioner clinches issue, in that it is, thus, admitted by petitioner that with his nomination as Director on Board and his appointment as Chairman-cum-Chief Executive Officer, he is deemed to have retired from aforesaid date, of course, according to him, for purpose of computing qualifying service for purpose of pension. So, if the petitioner is deemed to have retired as an employee of the Bank with effect from October 6, 2016, the date he was nominated as the Government Director on the Board and appointed as Chairman of the Bank, the question is what would his relationship with Bank be during the period he would remain or remained as nominated Director on the Board of the Bank and its Chairman-cum-Chief Executive Officer, especially so when, admittedly, this period is to be excluded while computing the qualifying service?Justice Magrey further observed that the word ‘retirement’ means termination of one’s employment or career; retirement may be voluntary or involuntary. Obviously, in the instant case, petitioner had the choice to decline the nomination as Director on Board and to be the Chairman and CEO of the Bank. But he accepted the position and thereby, by operation of the relevant Regulation(s), of his own volition agreed to be deemed to have retired from the employment of the Bank. He, thus, having seceded his relationship with the Bank as its employee, the period during which he remained as nominated Director on the Board and Chairman and CEO of the Bank would not constitute employment to be governed by the service conditions of the Bank. If that be so, as it actually is, the only relationship of the petitioner with the Bank while being a Government Director on the Board and Chairman/CEO of the Bank cannot but be contractual in nature.The Court further observed that despite above clearly admitted position, the claim of the petitioner is that, nay, so far as he is concerned, his employment with the Bank continued unabated and uninterrupted. It is pleaded that the concept of deemed retirement has no relation with one’s service and is even otherwise not applicable to Chairman/CEO and whole-time Directors who are serving employees of the Bank and had subsequent to their service in the Bank at a career level post been elevated to a Board Level Post in the same Bank. In other words, it is submitted that the definition of the expression ‘deemed to have retired’ given in the Pension Regulations is not attracted in the case of Chairman/CEO and whole time Directors of the Bank. To buttress this submission, reliance is placed on one of the bulleted paragraphs of Clause 4 of the Compensation Policy of the Bank which specifies the components of compensation as could be provided by the Bank to its employees.Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey observed that case of the petitioner before this Court is that even when he was nominated as Government Director on the Board and was appointed as Chairman-cum-Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, he continued to be in service of the Bank unabated and uninterrupted and, therefore, continued to be governed by the service conditions of the Bank, and that since the Bank, being an instrumentality of the State, is amenable to the writ jurisdiction of this Court, this petition challenging communication dated July 9, 2019, which conveyed to him that he is deemed to have retired from the service of the Bank with effect from 06.10.2016, is maintainable. In that context, this Court has recorded its finding that in terms of Rule/Regulation 2(k) and 2(l) of the Pension Regulations, the petitioner is deemed to have retired from the Service of the Bank with effect from October 6, 2016, therefore, his tenure as being the Chairman & CEO of the Bank is not governed by the Service Rules of the Bank.Court further observed that so far as the prayer of the petitioner for a direction to the respondents for release of all perquisites and benefits due and payable to him in law is concerned, it is seen that Chapter II of the Pension Regulations contain and provide for the application and eligibility of the said Regulations. It is admitted that he was in the service of the Bank till October 6, 2016, the date he was deemed to have retired from the service of the Bank. This Court could make a direction that in the event he is eligible to pensionary benefits under the Pension Regulations in question in lieu of his service till 06.10.2016 and he applies in accordance therewith for grant of such pensionary benefits, the Bank authorities shall consider the case of the petitioner in accordance with the applicable rules and pass appropriate orders, but, since this Court is dealing with the petition in limine and leaving the petitioner free to approach the civil court for seeking his main reliefs, such a direction may amount to treading into the merits of the case and may prejudice the petitioner in the civil court in seeking his all the reliefs. Therefore, by way of abundant caution no direction is made in that regard.With these observations, High Court ordered that this petition is dismissed in limine along with all connected CMs as not maintainable before this Court, leaving petitioner free to approach the civil court for seeking enforcement of his contractual relationship and/or redressal of his contractual dispute(s) with the Bank. It also disposes of the connected CMs.
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