Saturday, August 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

HC slams back-door entry
Asks Punjab to stop regularisation of ad hoc staff
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Slamming the back door on ad hoc workers seeking entry in different fields as regular employees by exerting pressure and pulling strings, Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have asked the Punjab government to “seriously consider” the desirability of not regularising the ad hoc appointments.

The directions are significant as for years in Punjab worthless candidates were securing back-door entry without facing a fair selection process, adversely affecting the chances of deserving contenders. Though the government came down heavily on Punjab Public Service Commission’s suspended chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu for allegedly accepting gratification for selecting applicants, little was done to check rear-door entry.

Taking a serious note of the trend, the Judges ruled: “In the recent past, a tendency has grown to fill posts on ad hoc basis.

Thereafter, periodical instructions are issued for the regularisation of their services. All this usually results in a back-door entry of certain persons without their facing a fair and proper process of selection. Such a process defeats the guarantee of equality of opportunity. Yet, the fact remains that instructions for regularisation have been approved by the Courts in the country”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Gupta further ruled: “Regularisation of an irregular appointment should normally not receive a stamp of approval from the Courts. Upholding the action of the state government in issuing periodical instructions for regularisation has only encouraged the state and its instrumentalities to resort to ad hoc appointments and then regularise their services.

“Result is that those not in a position to exercise and exert pressure or are unable to secure a back door entry, do not get a chance to compete for appointment to a large number of posts under the state. Those having ability to exert pressure are able to secure jobs and then become regular members of the service.”

“It is time that the state government seriously considers the desirability of desisting from regularising the ad hoc appointments. As a result of proper competition, only the meritorious shall be selected. They would perform the duties better. It would promote public interest”.

In detailed seven-page order, Mr Justice Gupta added: “It is undoubtedly true that the Constitution guarantees an equality of opportunity to all the citizens. Every person, fulfilling the qualifications for a post, has a right to be considered. A person must get a chance to compete. Whatever be the nature of appointment — ad hoc, temporary or regular, the guarantee of equality of opportunity has to be ensured.

“The fairest method an employer, especially the state government, is expected to adopt is that the posts are advertised. Every eligible candidate should be given a reasonable chance to apply. The claim of all the eligible persons should be impartially and objectively considered by the competent authority by adopting a fair, just and reasonable criteria.

“Thus, the selected should be appointed in the order of merit. This is undoubtedly the scope and the mandate of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution”.

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