In a significant development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday set aside the “employee regularisation policy” brought in by erstwhile Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government. The policy was framed to regularise thousands of employees in group B, C and D in 2014. However, the High Court allowed the employees to continue for a period of six months.
“As there are thousands of employees who had been appointed on ad-hoc/contract/work charged/daily wages, to take care of the work being carried out by them in different departments, we direct that they be allowed to continue for a period of six months, during which the state shall ensure that regular posts are advertised and the process of selection is completed,” the order read. The court also directed that all these employees be given relaxation in age to the extent of the period they have worked continuously on “ad-hoc/contract/work charged/daily wages basis” in the next process of selection.
What was the policy?
“Employee regularisation policy” was brought in by the previous state government to regularise the services of more than 20,000 contractual employees. Bhupinder Singh Hooda government had issued three notifications on June 16, 18 and July 7 in 2014, three months before the Assembly polls, and regularised contractual and ad-hoc employees. In October 2014, Assembly polls were held and BJP formed the government with absolute majority.
Why did HC set aside the policy?
The division bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Anil Kshetarpal, struck down all three notifications citing that those policies were brought to please voters as the state was in election mode and assembly elections were due in October 2014. “For gaining personal benefits, the bosses were not concerned about any order or judgment of the court, hence they dared to violate the same,” said the HC bench of justices Rajesh Bindal and Anil Kshetarpal in the order. “We find that policies having been framed in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court deserve to be quashed. Ordered accordingly,” the order said. “Under no circumstances, any ad-hoc/contract/work charged/ daily wages employees shall be allowed to continue further,” it added.
Haryana government to challenge HC verdict
The Manoharlal Khattar-led BJP government has said that it will challenge the verdict in Supreme Court. The government has also started compiling details of beneficiaries as the regularisation exercise was carried out in several departments. On Thursday evening, a communication seeking details of all such employees was sent by the office of Chief Secretary D S Dhesi to all the HoDs, Commissioners of the five divisions Ambala, Hisar, Rohtak, Gurugram, Karnal and Faridabad, all the Deputy Commissioners, Registrars of Universities and Chief Administrators and Managing Directors of all Boards/Corporations and Public Sector Undertakings in Haryana.