Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had made it clear that the state cannot be permitted to dispense with the services of its employees who are not at fault.
The assertion by Justice Anil Kshetarpal came in a case where the services of the canal guards were being dispensed with after putting in more than a decade.
The matter was brought to the HC notice after Ramesh Kumar and other petitioners filed writ petitions against the state and other respondents. Justice Kshetarpal’s Bench was told that the petitioners, on being selected under the general category, were appointed in January 2009. But the
selection was embroiled in litigation as “the authorities committed irregularities”.
The court, vide order dated September 8, 2010, permitted the authorities to take appropriate steps for the removal of the illegalities/irregularities. When the officials were about to complete the exercise, another candidate filed a civil writ petition. His contention was that the candidates, who had applied under the “BCA category” and had secured higher marks, were liable to be considered for selection under the general category in view of the government instructions.
The writ petition was allowed, following which the petitioners were served a show-cause notice. After granting personal hearing, their services were dispensed with, vide order dated November 16, 2019. But the Court granted interim protection to the petitioners and they continued in the service.
Justice Kshetarpal, during the hearing, took note of the respondents’ stand that the cadre of canal guards had been declared “diminishing cadre” and the posts stood converted to that of “beldar”.
Justice Kshetarpal asserted that the appropriateness of permitting the state to dispense with the services of the petitioners after more than a decade, particularly when they were not at fault, was the question for consideration.
“The irregularity in the selection was on part of the authorities/officials…. These writ petitions were filed by five individuals, out of which a petitioner recently died…. The courts after recognising the consequences of uprooting the petitioners (in other matters) have declared that after such a long passage of time, it would not be appropriate to throw them out of service.”
Allowing the writ petitions, Justice Kshetarpal made it clear that the petitioners would be permitted to continue in service. “However, it is left to the government to adjust them by creating supernumerary post or otherwise,” the Bench concluded.