An argument raised by Treasury Officer of Punjab Government to resist the regularization of the services of a full time sweeper took the Punjab and Haryana High Court by surprise.
The Officer argued that there was no toilet or a bathroom in the office so as to require the services of a full time sweeper.
The Court reprimanded the government for raising this frivolous plea that a government office does not have the basic amenities.
"In the 21st century wherein Chandrayaan-2 Mission has been successfully launched, the obsolete plea that there is no toilet/bathroom in the Treasury Office, Khamano, projects the State in bad light. Not only injustice is being done to the petitioner alone, in fact, the State is not fair to its other employees as well and has not discharged its duties in providing the minimum basic amenities to its employees and the members of the public who visits the office to avail the services provided by the department", the court said.
The petition was filed by one Manpreet Kaur, through Advocate Kapil Kakkar, seeking regularization of her services at the office of Treasury Officer, Khamano. She submitted that she had been working for the respondent continuously, for more than 10 years as a part time sweeper to the complete satisfaction of the authorities and that there was no complaint against her.
She moved the petition titled "Manpreet Kaur v. State of Punjab & Ors." , relying on a decision rendered by a Division Bench of the high court in State of Punjab & Ors . v. Surjit Kaur, LPA 771/2015, wherein a direction was issued to the respondents to frame a policy for regularization of services of part time employees and thereafter, to consider their claim for regularization in accordance with the policy.
"State of Punjab will look into this aspect of the matter and re-structure the policy in such a manner that services of Class IV part-time employees are regularized at least before one attains the age of retirement", it was held therein.
Opposing the petition, the respondents submitted that there was no need of a sweeper in their office because there was no toilet or bathroom in the office and as such there wasn't any sanctioned post of sweeper in their office. The respondents also pointed out that the services of the petitioner were required for one hour only and that she used to work as a helper at Anganwari from December 2009 to June 2016.
The court of Justice Jitendra Chauhan dismissed the respondents' plea that there is no sanctioned post of sweeper in its office. It was held "The petitioner has been continuously working with respondent No.4 since 1984. This necessarily implies that there is need for a sweeper in the office of respondent. In fact, judicial notice can be taken of the fact that in every office there is necessity of at least one sweeper…" reliance was placed on the decision of a Coordinate Bench of the high court in Kanta Rani v. State of Punjab & Ors., CWP-1933-2014.
It was also held that the Petitioner's job as a helper at Anganwari "would not ipso facto disentitle the petitioner from claiming regularization to the post of sweeper".
In this view, the respondents were directed to regularize the services of the Petitioner as sweeper within eight weeks and pay costs of Rs.25,000/-, to be deposited with the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association Welfare Fund, for raising frivolous pleas.
The respondents were represented by DAG Anju Sharma Kaushik.
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