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Retrospective Regularisation Allowed As Employer Ignored Years Of Service, Even When Plea Made After A Significant Amount Of Time; Difference Between Casual Worker And Daily Worker: J&k High Court

saksham bharadwaj ,
  17 April 2024       Share Bookmark

Court :
The High Court Of Jammu & Kashmir And Ladakh
Brief :

Citation :
SWP No.1611/2016

Case title:  

Ghar Singh vs University of Jammu and others.

Date of Order:

19.03.2024

Bench:

HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV KUMAR.             

Parties:

Appellant: Ghar Singh

Respondents:  University of Jammu and others.

Subject:  

In the case of Ghar Singh vs University of Jammu, the appellant served as a security guard for more than seven years in the institution. His services were regularized in the year 2010 which should’ve happened in the year 2004 according to the norms mentioned in the SRO 64 of 1994. The court recognized his claims distinguishing his rendered service from casual labour and granted him retrospective regularization with pending arrears and consequential benefits from the year 2005.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

  • SRO 64 of 1994: It refers to the norms/policies/guidelines of the University of Jammu regarding the regularization of employees.

OVERVIEW (Brief Facts)

  • In the current case the main problems arose when the petitioner (Ghar Singh) who applied for the post as a casual labourer on July 7th, 1997 was rather posted as a security guard as there was a vacant post in the University of Jammu.
  • The petitioner gave his services for a prolonged time of 7 years and according to the norms of SRO 64 of 1994 he should have been regularised within the stipulated time.
  • However, even after several reminders and requests made to them, the same was not considered by the University authorities.
  • It was also claimed that Ghar Singh along with 13 others was regularized as a security guard on March 25th, 2010 with a regular pay effect immediately.
  • This action done by the authorities was expressly condemned by Ghar Singh. Also, he believed that according to the rule book SRO 64 of 1994, he should have been regularised on a much earlier date (based on his previous service).
  • The issue for the same was raised in front of the Vice Chancellor of the University on July 16, 2016, claiming regularization which should have happened after 7 years of service (8th July 2004) at the institution according to their rule book. This plea of the aggrieved was not considered compelling him to file a petition.

ISSUES RAISED

The core issues that were raised in this case were related to:

  • Whether regularisation of Ghar Singh was valid.
  • Whether the significance of a complaint can be decided based on the stipulated time.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT

  • The appellants contended that the main reason for filing this petition was that the University of Jammu failed to exercise its policy. 
  • According to the policy, SRO 64 of 1994, he should have been regularised on a much earlier date (based on his previous service of 7 years), however, was regularized in 2010.
  • It was claimed there were no authoritative actions taken even after regular requests and complaints.
  • It was also asserted that the term ‘casual labour’ cannot be related to him as he had rendered his services for a prolonged time (more than 7 years) making him a daily worker.
  • Although, he was regularized by the university he was put on probation for 2 years and his services continued only till 2012, due to the grounds of the university rejecting him for the permanent post for not fitting in the criteria of age limit.
     

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • The arguments made by the respondents were that the allegations made do not dispute the appellant's work in the institution but rather it focuses on the time after which he chose to complain. It was inferred that the due time for complaints should not be six years after the regularization.
  • It was alleged that the petitioner enjoyed the regularisation while it was given to him and is challenging it after quite a long time to create chaos.
  • It was said that Ghar Singh was not particularly a daily wage worker but was rather an employee hired on a casual basis. Hence, he’d not be eligible under the policy to be regularized but still was regularized due to the new adoption of norms in which if a casual worker or a daily wage worker rendered his services for a long period, they could be regularized, which in this case happened according to the policy of the university and not SRO 64 of 1994.

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS 

  • On the basis of the arguments, it was held that the plaintiff was not in a wrong position for submitting his plea in the latter stage of his employment pertaining to his regularisation. 
  • It was said that appealing later or delay in reporting for the issues in the latter stage does not account for denial in serving justice. Hence, it was directed that the petitioner should have been regularized according to the start of the financial year (1st April, 2005 which was the year after he completed the duration of 7 years of service).
  • The Court mentioned a distinction between a daily wage worker (who works for a prolonged time) and a casual worker (intermittent worker), which was said to be disputed by the institution in this case. The opposing counsel was not able to prove any order or policy taken for the regularization of workers. Therefore, it was inferred that the appellant was entitled to his regularization.
  • The court also acknowledged that in the case of employer and employee relationship, the employer is always in a dominative position, compelling the employee to adhere to their conditions. Here, it was said even if the appellant accepted the rules and regulations of employment and did not protest, which does not mean he accepted the things disfavouring him, it would’ve taken time to muster the courage to go against the wrong, which indirectly relates to this delay in appealing.
  • It was pointed out that the regularization was done after 12 years of his service which cannot tend to be ignored. The other substantial reason to ultimately go against the institution could be the dejection faced on the age criteria for the permanent post, where his ex-service was not even considered. Also, the probation he got of 2 years, could have made him agitated. Hence, the retrospective regularization given to the petitioner should never hinder the service rights of other working members.
  • Ultimately, the aforementioned pleas of the respondents were overruled and it allowed the appellant to be entitled as a regularized security guard and to have all the consequential benefits and the pending amounts in arrears to be sanctioned from April 1st ,2005 - till his actual regularization in the year 2010. 

CONCLUSION

In the case of Ghar Singh v University of Jammu, the court ruled that the disparity in acknowledging the regularization of its long-working employees by the institution was cruelty to the individual(s). The basis of delay and laches or the difference between casual labour or daily wage labour could not be the grounds to deny justice to a person who has dedicated so many years of service to the organisation. Although the regularization was done in 2010, the retrospective regularization of the aggrieved was found to be legitimate too, finally granting him relief/benefits from 1st April 2005 to his actual appointment date.
 

 
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