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Union Of India & Ors Vs Ilmo Devi & Ors: In Judicial Review, The Court Cannot Interfere In the Administrative And Policy Matters Of The Government

Prahalad B ,
  13 October 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court
Brief :

Citation :
Civil Appeal No. 5689-5690 of 2012

Date of Judgement:

07.10.2021

Coram:

Justice M.R. Shah

Justice A.S. Bopanna

Parties:

Appellants – Union of India& Ors.

Respondent – Ilmo Devi & Ors.

Subject

While invoking Article 226 of the Constitution, the court should not ordinarily issue direction for absorption, regularization or permanent continuance unless the recruitment was itself done regularly andin terms of constitutional scheme.

Legal Provisions

  • Article 226 of the constitution - Power of High Courts to issue writs.

Overview

  • The facts of the case are that the respondents were employed as part-time sweepers in a post office. The respondents approached the Central Administrative Tribunal for regularization of their service. The Tribunal rejected the plea and dismissed the application.
  • Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in Secretary, State of Karnataka V. Umadevi (2006) directed the Union Government to take necessary steps to bring a policy for regularising the service of employees who have been irregularly appointed but are qualified persons and who have been working for ten years or more. Pursuant to this, the Union Government formulated a policy for regularising the service of casual labours.
  • Feeling aggrieved, the respondent approached the High Court. The High Court directed the appellants to reconsider the applications of the respondents which were rejected. The court further order to re-formulate the policy. Aggrieved by this order, the appellants preferred an appeal before this court.
  • The appellant contended that there was no sanctioned position as that of the respondents and they have not completed 10 years of age as directed in the Umadevi case. It was also concerned that the court does not have the power to interfere in a policy decision and cannot issue a writ of mandamus directing the government to create posts.

Issue

  • Whether the High Court’s direction to the appellant to reformulate the policy for regularising the service of casual labours exceeds its jurisdiction?

Judgement Analysis

  • This court also agreed with the appellant that there was no sanctioned post in the post offices. Hence, the direction of the High Court was erroneous.
  • It was further held that the court cannot direct the government to formulate or re-formulate a particular policy as it was the sole function of the government. It was also observed that regularization cannot happen when there is no such post.
  • The court upheld the High Court’s observation that the respondent cannot find other employment for the rest of the day as their part time work takes up most of the time, as based on conjectures and surmises.
  • Hence, this court held that the High Court’s direction to create posts is beyond the jurisdiction of the High Court in exercise of power conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Conclusion

A court cannot interfere in the policy matters of the government. In the present case, the government came out with a policy in pursuant to the direction in the Umadevi case for regularising casual work. Only if the labourers satisfy the conditions, his service can be regularised. When no such post exists, the application for regularising cannot be considered. This is because part time workers cannot claim parity with a regular employee.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Questions:

1. Which Article in the Constitution confers power on High Courts to issue writs?

2. What is the purpose of writ of mandamus?

 
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