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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • On the basis of equal pay for equal labour, the Supreme Court stated that part-time temporary employees in a government-run institution cannot claim salary parity with regular government employees.
  • The above observations were made by a bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna.
  • The case at hand concerned an appeal filed by the Centre, which challenged an order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordering the Centre to revisit the entire issue of regularisation policy, complete the exercise to reformulate their regularization/absorption policy, and make a decision to sanction the posts in a phased manner.

BACKGROUND

  • Respondents (who worked as contingency paid part-time Sweepers) petitioned the Central Administrative Tribunal ("CAT") for guidance on drafting a regularization/absorption policy for their service.
  • On November 19, 1989, the Tribunal granted interim status.
  • According to the department, the applicants were contingent paid Safaiwalas working for less than five hours, and thus were not eligible for temporary status.
  • It was also claimed that there was no regular sanctioned Safaiwala post in that particular Chandigarh Post Office.
  • On December 11, 2006, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (DoPT) of the Government of India issued an OM proclaiming regularisation of eligible individuals appointed irregularly to sanctioned posts.
  • The Department also framed a regularisation policy, under which the Union of India, state governments, and their instrumentalities were directed to take steps to regularise the services of such irregularly appointed, qualified persons, in terms of the statutory requirement of the Rules for the posts, who have worked for ten years or more in duly sanctioned posts but not under the cover of orders of courts or tribunals, as a one-time measure.
  • While dismissing the respondent's application on January 17, 2007, CAT stated that because the Department required continuous Safaiwala service, they should advertise this position and recruit regular Safaiwalas through the proper selection process within three months.
  • The panel further ordered that the respondents be considered for such selection after they have received age relaxation under the applicable criteria, based on the fact that they had worked for so many years without interruption.
  • The Respondents were also given instructions to continue fulfilling their tasks despite their current part-time status.
  • The High Court ordered the Centre to review the entire situation, finish the exercise to reformulate their regularization/absorption policy, and decide whether to penalise the postings in stages.
  • Unions were also given instructions to let employees remain in their current position until the policy was formulated, as well as to grant minimum basic pay of Group 'D' posts to those who had completed 20 years of part-time daily wage employment from a specific date.
  • Aggrieved, the center approached the Supreme Court.

COURT’S OBSERVATION

  • Given that the respondents were part-time employees who were paid on a contingent basis and that there were no sanctioned posts in the Post Office where they worked, the bench concluded that the High Court could not direct the Government and/or the Department to formulate a particular regularisation policy under Article 226 of the Constitution.
  • "In absence of any sanctioned post and considering the fact that the respondents were serving as a contingent paid part-time Safai Karamcharies, even otherwise, they were not entitled for the benefit of regularization under the regularization policy dated June 30, 2014."- the court observed.
  • What are your views on this judgement?
  • What do you mean by ‘part-time’ workers?

Share your answers in the comments section.

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