6 Aug 2021 12:09 PM GMT
Maharashtra State Judges Association has approached the Bombay High Court, highlighting the lack of infrastructure and the State Government's apathy regarding residential quarters for judicial officers of the subordinate judiciary. The petition seeks directions to set up a single-window portal to consider grievances of judicial officers, regarding electricity cuts without...
Maharashtra State Judges Association has approached the Bombay High Court, highlighting the lack of infrastructure and the State Government's apathy regarding residential quarters for judicial officers of the subordinate judiciary.
The petition seeks directions to set up a single-window portal to consider grievances of judicial officers, regarding electricity cuts without generator back-ups in different parts of the State and safety of residential accommodations in Maharashtra.
The Association further seeks to quash and set aside a 2021 notification issued by the State's General Administration Department to the limited extent that it considerably reduces the area entitlement for residential quarters, and for directions to follow a 2004 GR on entitlement.
The plea also adds that despite the availability of quarters as per the entitlement, they have not been provided with those facilities.
"The inaction on the part of the Respondent State is because of the mismanagement and non-application of mind by the State's officers .… and mess up in allotment is because of the sheer disregard of the policy of the Bombay HC."
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni briefly heard the petitioner's lawyer Tejesh Dande on Thursday and directed for the file to be placed before the Chief Justice on the administrative side.
Dande pointed out a complaint from a Pune judge who said his quarters were near a railway line with severe leakages in the bathroom. The judge claimed he was forced to carry an umbrella inside the toilet during the rains. Even after this, several letters to the Public Works Department (PWD) yielded no results, he said.
As per the feedback received by the Judge's Association, Public Works Department gives priority to diplomats and government officers in other departments for repair work over judicial officers.
In another instance, a substantial portion of a government residential building at Mazgaon collapsed, and the families of judicial officers had to be shifted on an emergency basis, a few months ago, the petition states.
It adds that even in such a situation, the State Government did not arrange for an alternate accommodation close-by, but the High Court took it upon itself to make necessary arrangements.
As per the judges, another problem they faced was regarding the long waiting period for residential quarters, as it directly affects their children's academic year. "The hardship caused to a judicial officer is beyond words… "
As per a 2004 GR, a Civil Judge Senior Division would be entitled to a 1,237 sq. feet quarters, and a District Judge to a 1,500 sq. ft house, based on his pay scale. But they are not allotted homes as per their entitlement, the plea states. As per the new GR, houses assigned for officers of the same cadre are between 600-730 sq feet and 800-1220 sq feet, respectively.
The 2021 GR is unjust and unreasonable, and in derogation of the State's policy. It is also contravention of the guidelines laid down by the HC, the association states.
The petitioners also pray for a policy for reimbursement of rent for their private quarters.
The Association added that they had submitted a representation to the government before the GR was issued, but they received no response.