HC orders govt to consider case of agricultural engineers for engagement as Rehbar-e-Zirat

Srinagar, November 11: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh ordered the government to review the case of agricultural engineers for their appointment as Rehbar-e-Zirat (ReZ) under a government decree issued on February 6, 2007 .

Welcoming the two pleas filed by a group of agricultural engineers, the court annulled the government order issued on November 23, 2012 in which the applicants’ request for employment as ReZ was rejected.

Court Javed Iqbal Wani held that the claimants had a legitimate expectation of being treated in a certain way by the defendants, as had been a consistent past practice followed by them while granting persons in a situation similar the benefit of various schemes, which included Rehbar-e-Taleem, Rehbar-e-Ziraat.

“However, in all the circumstances, it is apparent that the contested order made by the respondents is arbitrary, discriminatory in nature, manifestly contrary to the doctrine of legitimate expectation and to section 14 of the Constitution,” the bench said while canceling the order.

The court noted that the Cabinet sub-committee constituted on October 27, 2006 decided to create a mechanism engaging all agricultural technocrats, including petitioners, modeled on the ReT program.

He pointed out that this was followed by the registration of the petitioners as ReZ in each district and as a result, the petitioners on this representation of the respondents changed their position, to receive a monthly allowance of Rs 1500.

The bench recorded that a communication dated October 14, 2009 also came from the Office of the Director of Agriculture, suggesting a mechanism for the government to regularize and improve the salaries of agricultural technocrats, including the petitioners.

The court noted that the decisions taken by the Committee set up by the Government by virtue of the order issued on April 15, 2008, also generated a reasonable and legitimate expectation from the applicants for their absorption on the ReZ and ReT lines.

The bench emphasized that the established practice(s) adopted by respondents to absorb educated unemployed youth from different fields as ReT and then ReZ, which was a regular, predictable and certain conduct, process or activity of authority of decision-making, an expectation has arisen among the applicants, being reasonable, legal, logical and valid in accordance with the principles mentioned in the preceding paragraphs.

The tribunal observed that the practice followed by the respondents when they included people in a similar situation under the umbrella of a policy that generated and induces security and hope for a stable and stable future in the spirit of the petitioners and the change made by the respondents from their assured position the positions opposed to the petitioners’ case in the trial apparently violated the doctrine of legitimate expectation insofar as article 14 of the Constitution is aimed at towards the applicants.

On February 6, 2007, the government sanctioned the hiring of all agriculture graduates, who were unemployed in October 2006 under the ReZ program with a monthly allowance of Rs 1500.