HC directs continuation services of 918 helpers in SWD
Directs notices to Com/Secy, Ors returnable within four weeks
Srinagar: J&K High Court today directed continuation of the services of helpers in the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and payment of their honorarium.
The court also directed notices against the Commissioner Secretary and other top officers of the department for issuing an order that sought disengagement of the services of these 918 workers in August 2021.
Hearing a writ petition titled Rohee Akhter & Ors through T A Lone V/s UT of JK, Justice M A Chowdhary directed notice to the respondents, returnable within four weeks “subject to requisite steps”.
“In the meanwhile, the petitioners shall be allowed to continue their services and paid the honorarium,” directed Justice Chowdhary and listed the matter for further hearing on 25th of next month.
The subject of the writ petition had reference to the decision of the J&K UT government taken in terms of communication no. SWD/ICDS/49/2021 dated 27th of August 2021. The communiqué addressed to the Mission Director ICDS J&K, required him to disengage 918 helpers to supervisors with effect from 1st of September 2021.
The Mission Director in a further communication on 28th of September had asked all the District Programme Officers of Jammu & Kashmir to disengage all these helpers to supervisors.
The afore stated decision was challenged by the petitioner Rohee and others on the ground that the continuation of these helpers had the sanction of the government in terms of Government Order No. 72 SW of 2013 dated 16.03.2013. The sanction is based on a Cabinet Decision No. 60.07.2013 dated 15.03.2013, the petitioner said.
The cabinet decision according to the petitioner made the helpers eligible for promotion to Anganwari worker of such hamlet, ward or halqa Panchayat to which he or she belonged and possessed the requisite qualification.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted before the bench that the helpers have been serving the department for a long period of time and were continuously paid the honorarium for which there was no requirement of sanction of posts as mentioned in the impugned communication.
He further submitted that no disengagement order has been issued by any District Programme Officer so far pursuant to the impugned decision.
He added that the petitioners are holding the temporary status, therefore their rights are guaranteed under the constitution and they cannot be disengaged unless they are given an opportunity of hearing.