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HC pulls up State PWD yet again

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, APRIL 13: The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has chastised the State’s PWD in yet another case involving the Department’s treatment of its work-charged employees.
In an order issued on Wednesday, Justice Songkhupchung Serto directed the PWD authorities to consider regularisation of one of its work-charged employee’s service within one month while reminding that the Court, in a catena of cases, had previously directed the State Government to regularise the service of those who have served for several years as work-charged employees.
The case pertains to a writ petition filed by Talichuba, a Sectional Assistant (work-charged) at the office of Executive Engineer, PWD (R&B), Tuli.
According to the petitioner, he was appointed to his post on September 28, 1987 with scale of pay plus all other allowances admissible and had continued to serve without any break in service.
On completion of 32 years of service, he had submitted a representation to the Engineer-in-Chief of NPWD requesting for regularisation of his service.
The same was forwarded by the Executive Engineer of PWD (R&B), Feeder Roads Division, Tuli, on February 10, 2020.
At the same time, the elected member of Nagaland Legislative Assembly representing the petitioner’s constituency had also recommended his case to the Engineer-in-Chief.
“But no positive action was taken by the respondents towards regularisation of his service. Therefore, aggrieved, the petitioner has come before this Court”, stated the order.
During the hearing, the Counsel for the petitioner, Wati Jamir submitted that as per the office memorandum (OM) issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department (Administrative Reforms Branch) on March 17, 2015, a work-charged or casual employee can be regularised in service if the employee has completed 30 years and if he/she was paid with scale of pay.
“Therefore, the petitioner is entitled to regularisation of his service as per the provision of the OM”, he submitted.
In response, the Government Advocate countered that the MO applies only to those work-charged employees who have completed 30 years of service as of January 1, 2015.
In his verdict, Justice Serto noted that an overall reading of the memorandum shows that the scheme was prepared not only to facilitate regularisation of the work-charged or casual employees but also to stop the practice of appointment on work-charged/casual basis under the State Government.
“However, in the case of the petitioner, even after the lapse of the time given in the memorandum, he has been allowed to continue to serve as work-charged and he is about to complete 35 years length of service by which he would be release from service in terms of the Nagaland Retirement from Public Employment Act, 2009 (2nd Amendment Act, 2009).
“Therefore, the respondents cannot take shelter under one clause of the scheme and deny the benefit of the same to the petitioner. Moreover, a person who has served for almost 35 years with scale of pay and all other allowances admissible from time to time cannot be released without regularisation of his service since to do so would be unreasonable”, he ruled.
According to the Judge, the very fact that the employee was allowed to continue in service with scale of pay and all other allowances admissible reveals that his service was required and utilised all along.
“When a person’s service has been utilised for such a long time under the same service condition as other employees, what was left was only creation of a post and issuance of regularisation order. This could have been done by the respondents.
“As often said, State is a model employer; therefore, an employee under it cannot be treated unfairly and unreasonably. In catena of cases, this Court had directed the State Government to regularise the service of people who have served for several years as work-charged”, the order read.
In view of this, he ruled that the State PWD authorities should consider regularisation of the petitioner’s service within one month from the date of receipt of a copy of the order.
(Page News Service)