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Monday, September 18, 2006

No back-door entry in public employment

From the Hindu
http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2006091113260100.htm&date=2006/09/11/&prd=th&

  • Temporary employees have no vested right to be regularised: Supreme Court
  • High Courts could not issue directions to regularise services in the absence of any existing vacancies
  • Adherence to the rule of equality in public employment a basic feature of Constitution
New Delhi: There is no room for back-door entry in public employment and temporary employees have no vested right to be regularised contrary to the scheme of merit and constitutional provisions, the Supreme Court has held.

A Bench consisting of Justices G.P. Mathur and Dalveer Bhandari held that the High Courts could not issue directions to regularise the services of temporary or ad hoc employees in the absence of any existing vacancies.

Cautioning the High Courts, the Bench said: ``It would be improper for the courts to give directions for regularisation of services of the person who is working either as daily-wager, ad hoc employee, probationer, temporary or contractual employee, not appointed following the procedure laid down under Articles 14 (equality before law), 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) and 309 (recruitment and conditions of service of persons serving the Union or a State) of the Constitution. In our constitutional scheme, there is no room for back door entry in the matter of public employment.''

The Bench said: ``The Union, the States, their departments and instrumentalities have resorted to irregular appointments, especially in the lower rungs of the service, without reference to the duty to ensure a proper appointment procedure and to permit these irregular appointees or those appointed on contract or on daily wages, to continue year after year, thus, keeping out those who are qualified to apply for the post concerned and depriving them of an opportunity to compete for the post.''

``It has also led to persons who get employed, without following a regular procedure or even through the back door or on daily wages, approaching the courts, seeking directions to make them permanent in their posts and to prevent regular recruitment to the posts concerned."

Writing the judgment for the Bench, Justice Bhandari said: ``It is clear that adherence to the rule of equality in public employment is a basic feature of our Constitution and since the rule of law is the core of our Constitution, a court would certainly be disabled from passing an order upholding a violation of Article 14 or in ordering the overlooking of the need to comply with the requirements of Article 14 read with Article 16 of the Constitution. A regular appointment to a post under the State or Union cannot be made without issuing advertisement and inviting applications from eligible candidates.''

Appellant Surendra Prasad Tewari was appointed by Rajya Krishi Utpadan Mandi Parishad, Uttar Pradesh, on a temporary basis and he continued in the job for 14 years based on interim directions of the court. Ultimately, the Allahabad High Court rejected his plea for regularisation. The Bench confirmed the High Court order and rejected his appeal seeking to quash the impugned judgment.

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