Chennai: Pointing out that the Inspectors of Labour are routinely and mechanically passing orders conferring permanent status without following the legal principles settled by the Supreme Court, the Madras high court has said such method of back door appointments/permanent absorptions must be stopped at once in order to enforce the principles of equal opportunity in employment enunciated in the Constitution of India.
“Such a back door route created for securing permanent absorption undoubtedly unconstitutional” said Justice S.M.Subramaniam while dismissing a petition from 33 casual labourers, which sought a direction to the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board to implement the award of the Inspector of Labour, conferring the permanent status to them.
The petitioners were working in the operation and maintenance of Combined Water Scheme to Vedaranyam and other habitations under the control of TWAD Board as Electricians and Maintenance Assistants. After completing 480 days of continuous service in a period of 24 calendar months, they approached the Inspector of Labour. The Inspector of Labour passed an award conferring permanent status to them with reference to the Conferment of Permanent Status Act.
The judge said TWAD Board being a ‘State’ was governed by Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board Act, 1970 as well as service regulations of the year 1972. The said Act and Rules alone were to be considered as special laws as far as appointments, regularization and permanent absorptions of the employees of the board were concerned.
The conferment of permanent status was a general law as far as TWAD Board was concerned. Thus, the recruitment, regularization and permanent absorptions were to be made strictly in consonance with the service regulations of the TWAD Board. Any other order passed by the authority under the general law, running counter to the service regulations of TWAD Board cannot be implemented at all, the judge added.
The judge said the causal labourers who were engaged by the government were very much aware of their engagements and they have no right of permanent absorption. The terms and conditions of such services were also known to them.
Accepting all such terms and conditions, they were working as casual labourers. Under these circumstances, the modus operandi being adopted by these casual labourers or their organizations/unions was that to file an application before the Inspector of Labour, get a routine order of the permanent status and file a writ petition seeking implementation of the order of Inspector of Labour. Thereafter secure permanent appointment in the government organizations.
This modus operandi being followed by these casual labourers for securing permanent appointment in government organizations was in violation of the Constitution of Scheme of appointments and recruitment rules can never be approved by the high court, the judge added.
The judge said such a practice was going on for the purpose of securing public appointments across the state, more specifically in government undertakings, government organizations and government departments.
When a separate statute was in force governing the organizations and service regulations were framed by virtue of powers conferred under the Act, then there was no reason whatsoever to grant such routine orders of permanent status by the Inspector of Labour under the general law, the judge added....