21 Aug 2023 12:05 PM GMT
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has granted, with retrospective effect, earned leaves to a History lecturer 26 years after her initial appointment. It emphasised that where earned leave is permissible, entitlement to it begins from the date of joining the service, making it an inherent right of civil servants upon their appointment to a civil post.“The entitlement of civil servant to an...
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has granted, with retrospective effect, earned leaves to a History lecturer 26 years after her initial appointment. It emphasised that where earned leave is permissible, entitlement to it begins from the date of joining the service, making it an inherent right of civil servants upon their appointment to a civil post.
“The entitlement of civil servant to an earned leave starts from the date she joins the service, where leave is permissible. That being so, the earned leave becomes an incidence of service, a benefit available to the civil servant by virtue of he being appointed to a civil post”, Justice Satyen Viadya held.
The petitioner, a Lecturer (History), was appointed on a contract basis on June 25, 1997. After her services were eventually regularized on July 29, 2010, she sought seniority, monetary benefits, and continuity in service from the date of her initial appointment. Relying on a prior judgment by the same court in Narain Singh vs. State of H.P. and Ors., the petitioner filed a representation seeking similar benefits.
The petitioner claimed that the respondents granted her all benefits in terms of judgment in Narain Singh case except the benefit of earned leave. Having remained unsuccessful in getting her grievance redressed from the respondents, petitioner was constrained to approach the Court by way of instant petition.
The respondent department, in defense of its action, cited an office memorandum dated July 6, 2020, asserting that earned leave was not part of consequential benefits. This stance was rooted in the Central Civil Service Leave Rules, 1972, which were considered for entitlement and calculation of earned leave for employees serving in the vacation department.
Dealing with the matter at hand the court highlighted Rule 10 of the All India Service Rules, 1952, which justifies entitlement to earned leave for civil servants. Additionally, Rule 28 of the CCS Leave Rules, 1972, was referenced to determine earned leave for individuals serving in the vacation department, including the petitioner.
Underscoring the principle of non-discrimination the bench maintained that denying earned leave benefits to individuals who had received other service benefits retrospectively, either through court orders or otherwise, was arbitrary and in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.
“To discriminate between the persons who have received service benefits of regular employment w.e.f. retrospective date, be it under the orders of the Court or otherwise and others in whose cases the requirement of grant of benefits retrospectively did not arise, is clearly discriminatory andwithout any intelligible differentia”, the court said.
In view of the said legal position the court invalidated the office memorandum dated July 6, 2020, and directed the respondent department to grant the petitioner earned leave from the initial date of regularization—June 25, 1997—within eight weeks from the date of the judgment.
Case Title: Sunita Sangroli Vs State of H.P. and Ors.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (HP) 62
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