Almost three years after the Supreme Court ordered the Assam government to regularise 1,500 personnel working on an adhoc basis on India-Bangladesh border to prevention infiltration, many are still fighting a legal battle for the order's implementation.
Now the Supreme Court has given four more weeks to the state to implement its order, failing which senior superintendent of police (Border), Guwahati, will have to depose before it on the next date of hearing.
The SC had in April 2009 quashed a state government's March 17, 1995 circular that subjected these ad hoc employees to annual terminations and re-appointments.
While extending the benefit of this order to other similarly situated ad hoc border staff, including those who had not approached it for relief, the SC clarified that its order would not come in the way of ad hoc employees working as border staff being subjected to any periodical medical examination or service review to assess their fitness and suitability for continuation.
These ad hoc employees were appointed under the Prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners Scheme of the Union of India by the Assam government.
Though the state government revised the petitioner's salary and paid some amount to him, the SC's April 22, 2009 order was complied with only partially, forcing Dharmeshwar Baishya to file a contempt petition to seek a full compliance of the order in letter and spirit.
Acting on the petition filed through advocate AG Garg, the court had in May 2011 issued a notice to the Assam government and some of its officials. But even then, the order was been complied with fully.
On the state government's submission that the order was being implemented, the court said: "From a bare perusal of the aforesaid order dated January 7, 2012, it appears that some payment is yet to be made and it is going to be made in view of the pending contempt proceedings before this Hon'ble court."
Garg alleged that the state government was dilly-dallying in implementing the court's order. Taking a very serious view of non-compliance of its order, the court on January 23 recorded its strong "displeasure".
However, it gave one more opportunity to the state government to fully comply with the order and adjourned the matter for four weeks.
"We expect the contemner to make payment strictly in terms of aforesaid order of this court, if the same has not been made already… If the payment is not made… to all the claimants, the concerned officer i.e. senior superintendent of police (border), city Guwahati, should be present in court with all records on the next date of listing," the SC said.