REGISTRAR GENERAL Vs. STATE OF MANIPUR
LAWS(MANIP)-2019-9-25
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
Decided on September 17,2019

REGISTRAR GENERAL Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF MANIPUR Respondents

JUDGEMENT

M.V.MURALIDARAN,J. - (1.) Heard Mr. A.Bimol, learned senior counsel for the petitioner and Mr.P.Tamphamani, Junior Advocate to learned Advocate General for the State respondents.
(2.) The Public Interest Litigation was registered on the note of the Registrar General, High Court of Manipur for appointing a Judicial Officer to the Law Department so as to co-ordinate between the High Court and the Government.
(3.) The PIL was taken up on 24.3.2015 and the following order was passed :- "24.3.2015 Shri A. Bimol, learned counsel, who usually appears for the Registrar General, High Court of Manipur is directed to appear on behalf of the petitioner. Mr. R.S. Reisang, learned senior G.A takes notice on behalf of the respondents. Four copies of the writ application be served to the learned senior G.A by day after tomorrow, 26.03.2015. Put up this case after six weeks. In the meantime, learned senior G.A shall obtain instruction as to what step has been taken by the State Government for implementing the decisions taken in the meeting mentioned in the office note. It is made clear that in addition to the number of issues mentioned in the office note, other issues shall also be considered as and when required." Then, again on 15.7.2015, the following order was passed:- "15.07.2015 .J. Heard Mr.Sachi, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner as well as Mr.R.S. Reisang, learned Sr.GA appearing for the respondents. By order dated 13.5.2015, Mr. R.S. Reisang, learned Sr.GA had been requested to obtain instruction as to whether any decision has been taken to create the post of Commissioner (Law) to be manned by a Grade-I Judicial Officer or permit Judicial Officer to be posted against the vacant post of Dy. Secretary (Law) to deal with the files of High Court and Subordinate Courts. Learned Sr.GA prays for two weeks' further time to obtain instructions. Since this is an important issue, for the last time two weeks' further is granted. No further adjournment shall be granted. If the state Government fails to take any decision in the mean time, the Court shall pass necessary orders." Further on 05.10.2015, the following order was passed :- "05.10.2015 Heard Mr. A. Bimol, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, Mr. R.S. Reisang, learned Senior Government Advocate appearing on behalf of all respondents. By order dated 13.05.2015, the learned Senior Government Advocate was requested to obtain instruction as to whether any decision has been taken to either create a post of Commissioner (Law) to be manned by Grade-1 Judicial Officer or permit a Judicial Officer to be posted against the vacant post of Deputy Secretary in order to deal with the files of the High Court and the Subordinate Courts. It is submitted on instruction that the Government has permitted the post of Deputy Secretary (Law) to be manned by a Judicial Officer but no decision has been taken to create a post of Commissioner Special secretary (Law) to deal with the file of the High Court and the Subordinate court. As per the resolution passed in the last Chief Justice Conference, the post of Secretary (Law) is desirable to be manned by a Grade-1 Judicial Officer. It is therefore necessary for the State Government to either create a post of Commissioner (Law) or post of Special Secretary (Law) in addition to the post of Secretary (Law), occupied by an officer not belonging to Judiciary. The State Government is directed to take any step in this regard immediately. This case be listed after Puja Vacation. A copy of the order be handed over to Mr. R.S. Reisang, learned G.A" Thereafter, the another order was passed on 02.12.2015 and the order reads as follows- "02.12.2015 Mr RS. Reisang, learned Senior Government Advocate again prays for adjournment on the ground that the Cabinet is yet to decide with regard to the creation of post of Commissioner/Special Secretary (Law). The court has been adjourning this case since August 2015 only for the above purpose, and it is stated that State Government is not able to take a decision in this regard till now. This case be listed in the week commencing 12.01.2016. In the meantime, if the State does not take a decision with regard to the creation of the Post, the Court may have to decide this issue on merit." Again, on 25.01.2016, the Court passed the following order:- "25.01.2016 When this case was taken up on 02.12.2015, Mr R.S Reisang, learned Senior Government Advocate prayed for an adjournment on the ground that the Cabinet is yet to decide with regard to the creation of the post of Commissioner/Special Secretary (Law). This case has been adjourned several times for the State Government to take decision on this issue. Though several months have passed, no decision has been taken by the State and it is submitted by learned Advocate General, Mr. Th. Ibohal that the matter has not been placed before the Cabinet till today. In the last Chief Justice Conference, a resolution was passed to the effect that the post of Secretary (Law) is desirable to be manned by a Grade-1 Judicial Officer. This Court also feels the necessity of a Judicial Officer posted as Law Secretary and accordingly, orders have been passed in this case for the State Government to consider creation of the post. Considering the long delay in taking such a decision with regard to the creation of the post of Commissioner/Special Secretary(Law), we direct that this issue may be placed before the Cabinet as early as possible for taking a decision. This case be listed after 4 (four) weeks." Then, again on 24.02.2017, the following order was passed as below:- "24.02.2017 This PIL was filed for a direction to the State Government to implement the Resolution taken in the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Meeting held on 3rd and 4th April, 2015 with respect to manning of the post of Legal Remembrancer/Law Secretary by an officer of the rank of District Judge. When the matter was pending a decision was taken by the Cabinet contrary to the Resolution taken in the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Conference. The resolution taken on 22.06.2016 over Agenda No.7, reads as follows. "Posting of Judicial officers of the Law Department: Cabinet discussed the proposal in detail and felt that the present system of functioning of Law and Legislative department manned by Law graduate is functioning effectively. It is decided that the present arrangement may continue." When that decision was brought on the record by way of additional affidavit-in-opposition a rejoinder was filed on behalf of the petitioner wherein it has been brought on the record that almost in all the States in India the post of Legal Remembrancer/Secretary Law is being manned by an officer of the rank of District Judge except in the State of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Island. However, recently the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has taken initiative for posting of judicial officer on the post of Secretary Law. According to Mr. A. Bimol, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner the said resolution taken by the State Government on 22.06.2016 is apparently contrary to the decision taken in the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Conference held in the year 2015. Upon it, learned Advocate General did point it out to us that though the decision as has been referred to on behalf of the petitioner had been taken by the Cabinet but subsequently it was felt that the said decision needs reconsideration and it is quite likely that the decision be taken for having judicial officer manning the post of Secretary Law. Learned Advocate General by referring to the agenda placed before the Cabinet submits that the proposal had been given to resolve this issue by having meeting of the Chief Minister with the Chief Justice. According to Advocate General, if it takes place the issue would be solved automatically. In view of the facts and circumstances as stated above, matters be posted on 10.04.2017. At this stage, Mr. A. Bimol, learned counsel did point it out that the present incumbent holding the post of Secretary Law would be retiring on superannuation by the end of this month and therefore, order be passed that the post of Secretary Law be not filled up on regular basis. We are not inclined to pass such order but certainly we would be passing order that any appointment made on the post of Secretary Law either on the regular basis or ad hoc basis would be subject to the result of the order passed in this PIL." Thereafter, the following order was passed 10.5.2018 as under:- "10.5.2018 Let the Government clearly specify the issue involved in the creation of post for appointment of the Law Secretary or such appropriate post by a member of Manipur Judicial Service Grade-I. List again on 12/6/2018 (Tuesday) on the prayer of Mr. N. Kumarjit, learned Advocate General for the State." Again on 31.5.2019, this Court passed the following order and it reads as below:- "31.5.2019 Heard Mr. A. Bimol, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner. Also heard Mr. N. Kumarjit, learned AG, Manipur. The present PIL has been filed seeking a direction to the State Government for implementing the resolution taken in the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers meeting held on 3rd and 4th of April, 2015 with regard to manning of post of Legal Remembrance/ Law Secretary by an officer of the rank of District Judge. On 10-5-2018, this Court had passed an order directing the Government to clearly specify the issue involved in the creation of post for appointment of the Law Secretary or such appropriate post by a member of the Manipur Judicial Service Grade - I. No affidavit has been filed with regard the direction passed on 10-05-2018. The respondents shall file an affidavit to that effect within a period of three weeks' from today. List the matter on 19 th July, 2019. It is made clear that there shall be no further adjournment on the next returnable date." ;


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