Rashid Paul

HC dismisses petition of PHE’s 106 casual laborers seeking continuity of their jobs

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Srinagar, Jun 07: The J&K High Court on Friday dismissed a petition by 106 casual laborers in Public Health Engineering (PHE) department seeking continuation on the posts held by them till their regularization.

Justice A M Magray who adjudicated their case (filed in 2017) observed that the petitioners have miserably failed in establishing their claims of having worked any time during or after the 2011 in the department.

“This petition deserves and is hereby dismissed together with all connected MPs. Interim direction, if any, subsisting shall stand vacated.”

Taking a lenient view against the petitioners, no order as to costs was imposed on them.

Before parting with the case, the judge expressed his wish to observe that “at times the authorities tend to be revengeful against those who approach courts claiming reliefs against them, because they feel like having been put to face awkward situations while defending such claims, as in the instant case”.

Consequently, they do not engage such persons in future, said the judge adding “I make it clear that filing of this case before the court should not be an excuse for the respondents not to engage the petitioners or anyone of them on need-basis in the future”.

The 106 petitioners in the case titled Shabir Ahmad Khanday & others versus State claimed to have been engaged as casual laborers in PHE Budgam, in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and to be continuing till date.

They sought regularization of their services in view of the law laid down by High Court in case titled State of J&K versus Mushtaq Ahmad Sohail (2012) by treating them to have been engaged as daily-rated workers.

They also prayed release of their salary from 2011 till date and also to release their future salary without any let-up or hindrance. Besides they solicited the government not to disturb their present status and allow them to continue on the posts held by them till their regularization.

The court after examining the documents submitted in the petition observed that the petitioners have failed to even remotely establish that they have worked any time during or after the year 2011 in PHE department.

“This is rather categorically belied by them themselves by producing and relying on the documents discussed and dissected in detail by the court. None of the Muster Rolls pertains to any month of the year 2011 or a month of any of the years thereafter. Similarly, none of the formats referred to have disclosed payments having been paid for any of the months of the year 2010 or thereafter,” it said.

“Having minutely gone through the records and considered the matter, I am convinced that the petitioners have come to the court with a false and frivolous case, entailing distasteful consequences. Nonetheless, given the fact that the petitioners belong to the lower strata of the society, they deserve a lenient view to be excused,” observed Justice Magray.

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