Justice Biren Vaishnav of the Gujarat High Court has affirmed the order of the Industrial Tribunal which directed the Petitioner-State authorities to regularise the position of a sweeper who had been working for over four hours everyday for the past thirty years. The Tribunal had directed that the State also remit all the arrears from the date of reinstatement given the length of the worker's tenure.
The facts of the case were that the Respondent-Union representing the worker raised an industrial dispute that the worker was denied full-time work by the Petitioner-State despite completing 30 years of service and working for the establishment from 10am-6:30 pm. The Petitioner-State challenged the order of the Tribunal on the ground that the worker was not appointed on a permanent set-up but she worked as and when work arose. She was also paid through the contingency funds. Her appointment was not in accordance with the procedure of recruitment and hence, she was not entitled to regularisation. Reliance was placed on Algemene Bank Nederland, N.V. v. Central Government 1978 II LLJ, State of UP v. PO Labour Court and other precedents to bolster the contention.
Justice Vaishnav observed that the worker was not provided any appointment order but the Tribunal had seen that the worker would work full time. There was no evidence to suggest that she was working only for two hours a day as contested by the Petitioner-State. Further, the nature and extent of work ie cleaning toilets, washing utensils, serving waters, going to post officer, office of electricity company to pay bills suggested that she was working for long hours. Additionally, a post of a regular employee in the same setup did exist but was vacant. Basis these evidences and contentions, the Tribunal had directed regularisation. However, the High Court did fall short in granting the benefits of regularisation but only directed that care must be taken to absorb the worker, particularly when the regular process of recruitment is undertaken by the Petitioner-State.
In agreement with the order of the Tribunal, the High Court dismissed the petition.
Case Title : STATE OF GUJARAT v SAURASHTRA MAJUR MAHAJAN SANGH
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 186