Himachal High Court pulls Govt for adopting binary policy with change in guard

Himachal Pradesh High Court pulled up the Education Department for adopting a binary policy by appointing employees under different nomenclature on ad-hoc and temporary basis with the change in the guard of the government. 

A Division Bench comprising Justice Vivek Singh Thakur and Justice Bipin Chander Negi passed this order on a petition seeking direction to the respondents to the extent of benefits of contract service of the petitioner. 

The High Court held that the State must behave like a Model Employer, irrespective of persons in power and change in the Guard. The extension of service benefits to one kind of temporary appointment is equally applicable to similar temporary appointments with different nomenclature, the court retreated in the order.

The Court observed that the appointment of Voluntary Teachers, ad-hoc Teachers, Vidya Upasaks, Contract Teachers, PARA Teachers, PAT, PTA, and SMC Teachers are examples of clever phraseology devised by the State to overcome directions of the Courts in order to avoid permanent appointments by appointing ad-hoc or Temporary Teachers and depriving them of service benefits available to regular employees.

The bench held that one of the petitioners had initially served as JBT, on a contract basis and later appointed on a regular basis as Shastri. The second petitioner was also appointed as JBT, on a contract basis and later regularized on the same post,  without interruption following his contract appointment. Thus the claim of petitioner No.1 is slightly different from that of petitioner No. 2. 

The Court held that where an employee has served on a contract basis on different posts and has been regularized on some other post, his ad-hoc/tenure period shall be counted only for the purpose of pension.

 Whereas, an employee, appointed on a contract basis, is appointed on a regular basis on the same post, without interruption, his contract service has to be counted for the purpose of annual increments as well as pensionary benefits. 

However, the Cout found that despite repeated observations as well as directions of the Courts in numerous cases the State keeps on formulating, adopting, and practicing exploitative policies as a device to avoid the extension of legitimate benefits for the employees. 

The State tries to deprive the employee of the legitimate benefit by changing the nomenclature of posts and schemes to continue with the practice of temporary/ad-hoc appointments. 

The Court has ordered to extend the actual consequential financial benefits to the petitioner three years prior to the filing of the petition and the benefits beyond three years prior to the filing of the petition shall be extended on a notional basis.

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