The Madras High Court on Wednesday held granting permanent employee status to casual labourers based on the orders of the Labour court would become an illegal channel of appointment and amount to violation of Constitutional provisions, including reservation.
Such as practice was going on for the purpose of securing public appointments across the state, more specifically, in government undertakings, organisations and departments, the court said adding it would encourage backdoor entry bypassing recruitment norms.
Coming down on the Inspectors of Labour for mechanically passing orders conferring such permanent status without following the legal principles settled by the Supreme Court, Justice S M Subramaniam said the contract workers have no right of permanent absorption and join work knowing the terms and conditions.
The judge made the observations in his order dismissing a petition jointly filed by 33 people who were appointed during 2003-2008 on daily wages basis asElectricians and Maintenance Assistants in the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD Board).
The petitioners sought a direction to the TWAD authorities to implement the order of Labour Court which had directed grant of permanent status for them under the Tamil Nadu Industrial Establishments (Conferment of Permanent Status to Workmen) Act, 1981.
The Inspectors of Labour are routinely and mechanically passing orders conferring permanent status without following the legal principles settled by the apex court of India. Number of such orders is passed.
"However, the fact remains that the casual labourers and daily wage rated employees who were engaged by the government departments or government undertakings or organisations are very much aware of their engagements and they have no right of permanent absorption," the judge said.
Having joined duty knowing the conditions, the modus operandi being adopted by these casual laborers or their organisations/unions was to file an application before the Inspector of Labour, get a routine order of the permanent status and file a petition seeking its implementation and secure permanent appointment.
This was in violation of the Constitutional scheme of appointments and recruitment rules can never be approved by the high court, the judge said.
In the event of granting permanent status for these causal labourers, based on the orders of the Inspector of Labour under the conferment of Permanent Status Act, then the back door route created by these authorities would become an illegal channel of appointment and consequently, it would amount to violation of the Constitutional mandates," he said.
Reservation norms, merit and selection process were not followed, he said adding such practice would lead to corrupt activities and the Constitutional rights of all eligible candidates, who all are aspiring to secure public employment, would remain infringed.
Thus, such method of granting conferment of permanent status can never be approved by the Constitutional Courts.
The petitioners stated that they have completed 480 days of continuous service in a period of 24 calendar months, and therefore, they were entitled to get permanent status, as per Section 3(1) of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Establishment (Conferment of Permanent Status to Workmen) Act, 1981.
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