Rashid Paul

HC directs ASI to consider regularization of monument attendants from Kashmir

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Srinagar, Nov: The J&K High Court Wednesday directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to consider regularization of services of dozens of monument attendants/casual laborers from Kashmir who have been denied this right despite serving the department for the past 28 years.

Justice A M Magray directed the ASI to accord consideration to the regularization of services of the petitioners who have completed 10 years’ continuous service and give them same treatment as has been provided to the similarly situated casual laborers in the department.

The respondent officers shall consider the release of pay scale in favor of the petitioners and the needful be done within a period of three months, directed the court.

The petitioner employees were engaged in 1990 in ASI and are continuing till date. The continuous performance of the duties by the petitioners for such a long time suggests that there is permanent availability of the job with the respondent department, pleaded their counsel.

He submitted that the respondent department has, without any reason or justification, continued the petitioners as casual labourers and accorded them the status of temporary nature vide order dated 12.5.2014 and that they are being paid 1/30th of minimum pay of the pay scale plus DA per month.

He also submitted that the department regularized the services of three casual labourers who were similarly situated as the petitioners. Their cases for regularization have been taken in isolation and the petitioners have been denied the same treatment without any rhyme or reason, he added.

The petitioners informed the court that in 2013, a process for regularization of services of the petitioners was initiated by the respondent department and the relevant records pertaining to them were called from Srinagar circle.

However, the process was shelved without any reason and justification.

The court said that the petitioners have admittedly rendered a continuous service of more than two decades in the respondent department. On the strength of their continued service, they have approached the department for regularization of their services and accord of benefits of pay scale.

The petitioners have attained the status of permanency in the department by dint of continuous service of 24 years and at this stage they cannot be shown the door or denied the regularization of their services more so when the department remains in need of their services, which is evidenced by their continued service in the respondent department, observed the court.

The fundamental question that arises for consideration of this court is that if the petitioners were found ineligible for regularization under the “Casual Labourers (Grant of Temporary Status and Regularization) Scheme of India 1993, as they were not in the employment of the respondent department in the year 1993, when the scheme was launched, would they be rendered ineligible for being considered for regularization for all times to come?,” the court asked.

If that contention of the respondents is valid — the petitioners despite rendering service of more than two decades cannot be considered for regularization – it will be against the law of equity and fair play, it held.

Similarly, the petitioners cannot be singled out in the fixation and grant of pay scale to them, particularly when the source of appointment of the petitioners and all those regular employees, Monument Attendants, is one and the same, said the court.

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