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Can't allow state to exploit its employees: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Can't allow state to exploit its employees: Punjab and Haryana High Court


Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, November 30

The state government cannot be allowed to act in a manner to exploit its own employees, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asserted. Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma made it clear that officers concerned were answerable to the state legislature and were bound to follow the rules framed by it.

The assertion came as Justice Sharma allowed a bunch of petitions filed through counsel HC Arora, challenging the action of placing the petitioners, appointed in the master cadre, in fixed pay scale in terms of the Punjab Civil Services (Rationalisation of Certain Conditions of Services) Act, 2011, although it stood repealed by the legislature from the date of its coming into force. Justice Sharma ruled that Amanpreet Singh and other petitioners would be considered appointed on a regular basis and would be entitled to regular pay scale from the date of their initial appointment.

The arrears would be calculated accordingly before being released. The amount that has already been paid as fixed salary would be adjusted while making the calculations and the entire exercise would be completed within three months henceforth. Justice Sharma also quashed the order of regularisation passed on February 29, 2016, making it clear that the petitioners would be treated regularised from their initial appointment date. Other consequential benefits would also follow accordingly, the court said.

Justice Sharma also described as shocking the state’s stand that the appointment was being made under the general rules of the Indian Contract Act. “The respondents have tried to contend that the appointment was being made under the general rules of the Indian Contract Act, which is absolutely shocking as the services cannot be governed by the rules of Indian Contract Act and, rather, have to be governed by the rules framed under the provisions of Article 309 of the Constitution of India,” the Bench said.

Justice Sharma added that the contention raised by the respondents was, as such, rejected. The services of the petitioners could not be said to have been on contract basis and the words used were merely a misnomer and were similar to the word “induction” mentioned in the 2011 Act.

Justice Sharma said the petitioners were appointed against permanent posts existing in the Education Department as the advertisement itself mentioned the post to be of masters’ cadre.

The Act of 2011 stood repealed. But the respondents did not pass orders accordingly and the petitioners were left to continue working on the regular post of masters’ cadre on a fixed pay.

The respondents started releasing regular pay scale to the petitioner only in 2016, after almost three years.

Petitioners entitled to regular pay scale

The petitioners appointed in masters’ cadre will be considered appointed on a regular basis and entitled to regular pay scale from the date of initial appointment. — Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma

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