HC dismisses PWD technical staff regularisation plea



The Bombay High Court at Goa on Tuesday rejected a bunch of petitions filed by technical assistants working on contract basis with the Public Works Department who were seeking that their posts be regularised.

The technical assistants, some of whom were working since the year 2012 were peeved that they were not regularised and instead fresh advertisements were issued and others were taken in their place ignoring their claims.

The Advocate General, however, argued that the petition should not be entertained as the technical assistants were approaching the court only because they weren’t selected as part of the fresh recruitment process.

Almost all the 27 contract employees applied in the prescribed format for consideration of their candidature for appointment to the post of Technical Assistant. Out of the 27 contractual appointees, three of the contractual appointees find a place in the select list. From this, it is quite clear that the petitioners took their chance at the selection process in terms of the said rules and the advertisement and it is only after some of them were not successful in finding a place in the select list, that these petitions have been instituted, inter alia, to question the said rules. This is impermissible and the challenge to the said rules at the behest of such Petitioners, must be rejected on this ground, amongst other grounds that equally apply to this case,” Advocate General Devidas Pangam told the court.

The High Court dismissed the petitions.

“On the issue of regularisation of the Petitioners’ services, the petitioners have placed on record no material entitling them, as a matter of right, for such regularisation. The entire case is based on the so-called assurances given by the Ministers There is nothing on record that indicates that any assurances were given by the Ministers on the aspect of regularisation of the Petitioners’ services,” the High Court bench of Justices MS Sonak and RN Laddha ruled.

“Secondly, and in any case, the petitioners have not continued in their contractual appointments for 10 years or more and, therefore, there was no obligation on the State Government to have explored the possibility of their regularisation as a one-time measure. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is not a case where the contractual appointments of the petitioners can be styled as merely “irregular” appointments,” the Court said.

“In the last context, the petitioners have themselves pleaded that the advertisement was quite clear since the appointments were to be made on a contractual basis. In these Petitions, as noted earlier, the advertisement issued in the year 2012 had made it very clear that the appointments were to be made only on a contractual basis,” the High Court ruled.

“The contention that the Government ought to have exercised the power of relaxation or the Government ought to have considered the plight of the contracted employees before the said rules were framed is, again, not a plea sufficient to hold that the said rules are either arbitrary or unreasonable,” the High Court said.

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