If workload less, employer can fire contractual staff: Punjab and Haryana High Court

If workload less, employer can fire contractual staff: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Photo for representation only. - File photo

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6

In a significant judgment on contractual appointments, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has delineated upon the circumstances under which an employer can dispense with the services of a contractual employee, including financial constraints and reduced workload.

Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa

Another factor: financial crunch

On account of budgetary/financial constraints, the employer chooses not to carry out the work or implement the project in question, it would always be open for the employer not to engage any contractual employee.

The Bench has made it clear that an employer was well within his rights not to engage contractual employee if chooses not to go ahead with work due to budgetary/financial constraints.

Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa asserted: “A contractual arrangement in favour of an employee would always be subject to the right of the employer to resort to a method of regular appointment. It would also be open for the employer to dispense with the services of a contractual employee if his work and conduct is found wanting.”

Justice Dhindsa also made it clear that it would again be open for the employer to disengage the contractual appointee in case of non-requirement or reduction in workload. “Yet again even if there be work, and on account of budgetary/financial constraints, the employer chooses not to carry out the work or implement the project in question, it would always be open for the employer not to engage any contractual employee.”

The matter was brought to Justice Dhindsa’s notice after a canal patwari working on contractual basis since February 2020 filed a petition against the State of Haryana and other respondents. He was seeking directions to the respondents to continue with his services on a contractual basis till the filling up of the post on a regular basis. His counsel told the Bench that the petitioner’s work and conduct had been exemplary. He was a matriculate and “patwar pass”. He had even gained sufficient experience on the canal patwari post. As such, he was vested with the right to continue on the post on a contractual basis.

“Such decision would be taken by the competent authority on an objective basis keeping in view the relevant parameters of workload, past work and conduct of the contractual employee in question etc…,” Justice Dhindsa asserted, while dismissing the petition.

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