The present case deals with the regularization of the workman (Beldar), who objected to his benefits being stalled due to errors committed by the Respondent State.
The Petitioner was employed as a beldar in the Irrigation and Public Health Department in the year 1991. He worked for 240 days in each calendar year up to 4/1/2007 and was regularized subsequently from 1/1/2002, ten years apart from 1992.
The contention of the Petitioner
The main contention of the Petitioner was that he ought to be regularized after 8 years of regular service and not 10 years as per the policy prevalent at the time he was considered for regularization.
The contention of the Respondents
The Respondents contended that as per Gauri Dutt v State of Himachal Pradesh, a workman was entitled to change of work status only after completion of 10 years. Another contention raised by the Respondents was that the instant petition was time-barred and was therefore liable to be dismissed.
The decision of the Court
The Court directed the Respondents to grant the change of work status to the Petitioner with effect from 1.1.2000, and grant him benefits entailing with a change in status.
Reasons for Decision
The Court relied on the affidavits filed by the Respondents that itself admitted that 10 years of service before regularization was amended by the Government as 8 years on 31.3.1999, which was mandated after a decision of Moolraj Upadhyaa v State of Himachal Pradesh. Further, there was not an iota of doubt over the completion of 240 days work in each year by the Respondents and the policy prevalent then required service of 8 years. Therefore, the Court concluded that the Respondents have abdicated their responsibility. The Court negatived the contention of time boundedness raised by the Respondents by ruling that the Petitioner was a Class IV employee and the Respondents must look into regularization. Time boundness was no excuse for abdicating one’s duty. The Court further held that while dealing with the fundamental rights of the poor workmen, the Court was a sentinel of protection and it could not dismiss the workman’s plea on the jejune ground of delay and laches. The Court further placed reliance on the treatment of similarly placed employees as that of the Petitioner and noted that they were regularized after 8 years. Therefore, the Petitioner could not be discriminated against as it would lead to invidious discrimination which was barred by law.
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