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Regularisation Of Daily Wage Workers: Supreme Court Stays Contempt Proceedings Against Karnataka's Addl Chief Secretary For Non-Compliance Of HC's Order

Srishti Ojha
6 Jan 2022 2:17 PM GMT
Regularisation Of Daily Wage Workers: Supreme Court Stays Contempt Proceedings Against Karnatakas Addl Chief Secretary For Non-Compliance Of HCs Order
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The Supreme Court of India on Thursday stayed the contempt proceedings against the State of Karnataka's Officer for non-compliance with the High Court's order to consider the case of the respondent daily wage workers for regularisation.A Bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli has issued notice in the special leave petition filed challenging the Karnataka...

The Supreme Court of India on Thursday stayed the contempt proceedings against the State of Karnataka's Officer for non-compliance with the High Court's order to consider the case of the respondent daily wage workers for regularisation.

A Bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli has issued notice in the special leave petition filed challenging the Karnataka High Court's order dated 23rd November 2021 taking contempt action against State's Additional Chief Secretary for non-compliance with High Court's order.

The High Court of Karnataka through its order rejected the compliance affidavit of the State and posted the case for framing of charges against Dr. Rajneesh Geol, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Public Works Department, Bengaluru. The accused officer was directed to be present before the court on 6th January 2022.

Courtroom Exchange:

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the State submitted that the short point in the case is "Pre Uma Devi and post Uma Devi"

He added that before the Uma Devi judgment in 2006, the Court directed the State to regularise which it did. However post Uma Devi, representations were to be made to the State.

SG Mehta submitted that when representations were considered by the State and rejected, the orders of rejection have not been challenged. He added that several contempt petitions were filed but the court rather than going separately, heard all matters together and passed an order.

"What appears from the record is these persons completed 10 years of daily wage service against sanctioned post, the high court had disposed of matter directing you to consider their case" the Bench said.

"They have been regularised. Thereafter batch of petitions kept coming." SG said.

"The directions as far as Uma Devi is concerned, if a person is appointed at a regular sanctioned post and has completed 10 years you can consider his case for regularisation. Why you are compelling everyone to come to court? " Justice Surya Kant said.

"It was all considered, the Government came up with a statutory regulation providing for their welfare that instead of regularisation this is what they will get," SG said

"Why did you do that Mr Mehta is the question. If you yourself are saying in terms of Uma Devi they have completed 10 years on regular post. Instead of regularisation, you will come with a scheme?" Justice Hima Kohli said

The scheme being referred to here is the Karnataka Daily Wage Employees Welfare Act 2012, which was enacted by the State for all daily wage workers who don't have the benefit of regularisation

The Solicitor General however submitted that the present case is not at all a case of contempt. The Bench then asked the SG to come with a detailed affidavit as to how the State has complied with the order

"Issue notice. Stay of further proceeding in contempt application. Meanwhile, we direct SG Mehta appearing for State to file documents and affidavit" the Bench said.

The order passed in 2017 of which the breach is alleged in the case read :

"In view of the above, a direction is issued that the representation submitted to the first respondent to consider the case of the petitioners for the regularization of their services be considered and disposed off in the light of the law laid down by the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Secretary, State of Karnataka and Others vs. Uma Devi and Others reported in SCC in (2006) 4 SCC 1 and further clarified by the Apex Court in the case of Malthi Das vs. Suresh & others and on the grounds of parity".

According to the State, if the only direction in the writ petition is to consider the case of the said daily wage workers then the consideration is in the response submitted by the State which has rejected the representation for regularisation.

According to the State, it issued endorsements in compliance of the order of which breach is alleged in the contempt petitions, by considering the specific directions issued in the said cases and also by strictly following the guidelines laid down by Constitution Bench of Supreme Court Court in the case of Uma Devi.

According to the State, the High Court of Karnataka has clearly exceeded its jurisdiction and without any justification in law has now rejected the compliance affidavit of the petitioner and has posted the case for framing of charges on the sole ground that the State has not reported compliance in a similar manner as in Malati Das's case. However, the same was done because the facts and circumstances of each case and the directions in each case, is different.

The State has submitted that the services of all the respondents in Malathi Das's case were regularized because specific directions were issued to regularize their service in that case.

The petition has pointed out that all the respondents in the present case have been provided benefits under the Karnataka Daily Wage Employees Welfare Act 2012, which was enacted by State for benefit of all daily wage workers who don't have the benefit of regularisation.

Further, the State has argued that the High Court hearing the contempt petition could not have exceeded its jurisdiction in practically issuing a mandamus to regularise the service of the daily wage workers whose request has been rejected by specific orders passed by the Government.

The present petition filed through Advocate VN Raghupathy has submitted that the common order has been passed in the contempt petition and connected cases on the basis that primary relief sought by all individual respondents is in respect of regularisation of their services on the plea that they have worked as daily wage workers in various departments of the Government.

In the Uma Devi's case referred to in the High Courts order ( State of Karnataka' vs Umadevi) the Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court had held that persons who are entitled to regularisation of service should meet the following criteria:

  • Should have been appointed against a sanctioned vacant post
  • Should have requisite qualification prescribed for the post
  • Should have been continued in the same post for more than 10 years
  • Shouldn't have continued under the shelter of orders of the Courts or Tribunals


Case Title: State of Karnataka vs Suresh Naik & Ors

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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