1 Aug 2022 6:00 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Anganwadi workers alleging that they were not promoted to the post of 'Mukhya Sevika' on account of discrimination between those working at the District Panchayat level and those working under the Municipal Corporation. It was alleged that Anganwadi Workers from District Panchayats were elevated to the aforesaid post while those...
The Gujarat High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Anganwadi workers alleging that they were not promoted to the post of 'Mukhya Sevika' on account of discrimination between those working at the District Panchayat level and those working under the Municipal Corporation.
It was alleged that Anganwadi Workers from District Panchayats were elevated to the aforesaid post while those from the Municipal Corporation were deemed ineligible.
However, the Bench comprising Justice AY Kogje observed:
"The Court does not find any discriminatory clause in the policy however, considering the argument of learned advocate for the petitioners that the Anganwadi Workers, who were working under the District Development Officer were given priority and they stole the march over the petitioners for the promotion to the post of the Mukhya Sevika, in the opinion of the Court, would be attributable to the procedure which is undertaken by two separate establishments, depending upon the exigency which existed there, but such cannot be the ground to decide that the resolution was itself discriminatory in any manner."
The Court also noted that whereas the policy for promotions was framed in the year 2005 and relaxation in age for first round of promotions was announced in the year 2007, the actual procedure for effecting promotions only commenced in the year 2011, by which time the Petitioners had superannuated.
In this backdrop, the Court clarified,
"Date on which the resolutions are framed, cannot be treated to be the date relevant for the purpose of deciding the entitlement of the petitioners. The relevant date to decide the entitlement would be the procedure that would be undertaken for the purpose of promotion which in the present case, is in the year 2011 for the first time and therefore, the age of the petitioners on the date on which the promotions are to be considered is relevant."
Petitioners assailed the impugned Government Resolution which framed the policy of promotion by claiming that it was arbitrary and discriminatory and violative of Art 14. Additionally, the Petitioners had corresponded with the authorities for long but no action was taken. Reliance was placed on Smt. Manjulaben M. Ranavat Anganwadi Worker v/s. District Development Office to submit that in an identical situation of the Anganwadi Worker, she was given the post of Mukhya Sevika. Basis their age (45 years or 48 years), they were entitled to the promotion, as well.
The Municipal Corporation opposed the submission on the ground that the age of the Petitioners had surpassed 48 years. Therefore, their names did not appear in the list of selected candidates.
The Bench admitted that the upper age limit was fixed at 48 years while referring to the Government Resolution of 2007, even as the Petitioners were above that age. In fact, at the time of filing the instant application, the Petitioner was 55 years of age in 2017. Reliance on Manjulaben was dismissed by the Bench on the ground that the case involved a discrepancy in the date of birth of the Anganwadi Worker. Addressing the contention regarding violation of Art 14, the High Court could not find any discriminatory clause.
Lastly, the High Court rejected the argument of the Petitioner that their eligibility cannot be adjudicated from the date on which the Resolutions were framed (2005 and 2007). The High Court explained that the entitlement of the Petitioners for the promotion would be determined from the year 2011 when the procedure for promotion was first decided.
Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
Case No.: C/SCA/9589/2017
Case Title: PRITIBEN CHHAGANLAL KANJARIAYA v/s STATE OF GUJARAT & 4 other(s)
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 304
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