03 Aug 2121

Even though the employee was labelled as a Part-Time tube-well operator, the employer's actions regarded him or her as a regular employee, and he or she will be classified as such - Supreme Court of India

Case : The State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. v. Uttam Singh Civil Appeal No. 4575/2021 [Arising out of SLP (C) No. 20650/2019]

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy

Decided on : 03 Aug 2121

The Relevant Statutes

Section 159 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950

Uttar Pradesh Recruitment of Dependants of Government Servants Dying in Harness Rules, 1974

Brief Facts & Procedural History

1. The respondent's father had previously pursued legal action against the appellant Department in an attempt to secure his appointment following his selection for the position of Tube well Operator. The High Court said in the challenged decision that the respondent's father's selection procedure was clear and against the normal vacancy for which he had filed all required paperwork to the Irrigation Department. The respondent's position is that the appellants dragged their feet on this issue for six years, with only the actual appointment taking place. The respondent's father worked and received emoluments comparable to the usual pay scale for 13 years before passing away.

2. The respondent's position is that the appellants have employed one Balram and one Smt. Geeta Devi as Part-Time Tube Well Operators, respectively, whose father and spouse died in harness, and many other candidates whose records are not accessible. The respondent claims that he was singled out for denial of the benefit because of previous litigation between the respondent's father and the appellant-Department.

3. The appellants' case is that the respondent's father had not been regularised, and that simply providing equivalent benefits based on the principle of "equal pay for equal work" would not make him a regular employee, and thus the respondent is not entitled to the compassionate employment benefits provided by the Rules.

4. As a result, the respondent claims that because his father worked for the government for more than three years in a row, he was obligated to be regarded as a government employee, and so the benefit should be extended to him. On the other hand, relying on the case of Gen. Manager, Uttaranchal Jal Sansthan vs Laxmi Devi & Ors. (2009) 7 SCC 205, in which the same Rules were examined, learned Senior counsel for the appellants seeks to argue that this Court opined that a person not regularly appointed but who had otherwise put in 3 years continuous service in a regular vacancy could not mean to imply that a Daily Wager could be made. It's worth noting, however, that the Court had ruled on the circumstances of that case, concluding that the respondent would not get any advantage. A normal vacancy was defined as one that occurred in positions that were sanctioned by the relevant authorities. Although they claimed regularisation, the dead employee's service was not regularised. The fact that the deceased employee was paid on a regular pay scale was not taken as evidence that they were opposed to a regular vacancy.

5. The impugned judgement of the Allahabad High Court's Division Bench, under which the respondent before us was granted compassionate appointment under the Uttar Pradesh Recruitment of Dependents of Government Servants Dying in Harness Rules, 1974, due to the death of his father, who worked for the appellants.

6. An appeal has been filed at the Honourable Supreme Court of India aggrieved by the impugned judgment.

The Issue(s) of the Case

Whether the impugned judgment of the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court valid?

The Observations of the Court

1. Honourable Supreme Court of India observed that even though the respondent's father was appointed through a legal process, the appellants attempted to deny him his dues for reasons unknown to them. The High Court expressed its displeasure with the way the respondent's father was refused work. That is why, from the beginning, he was granted the perks of a full-time employee while being classified as a part-time tube well operator. Apart from the fact that his work hours were those of a regular employee, entitling him to equal pay for equal work, the High Court held that these factors demonstrate that the appointment was against the regular vacancy, even though it was still referred to as a "Part-Time" appointment.

2. Honourable Supreme Court of India also observed that During his 13 years of work, and before to that, after battling the appellants for 6 years to obtain his dues, the respondent's father was also transferred from one department to another, which is typically an element connected with someone who has a regular job. The most important point is that if the respondent's father had not been a regular appointee, there would have been no need for the Department to volunteer his services to the State Election Commission to perform election duties that could only be performed by a Government employee, as required by Section 159 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

3. Honourable Supreme Court of India also observed that According to the appellants' examples, at least two people were engaged in a comparable circumstance, namely Balram and Smt. Geeta Devi, whose father and husband died in harness as Part-Time tube well operators, respectively. The respondent is being discriminated against, presumably as a result of the past lawsuit between the appellants and the respondent's dead father. There is no adequate justification for this, and the appellant-Department cannot continue to harass the respondent in this manner.

The Decision Held by the Court

1. Honourable Supreme Court of India held that The Division Bench of the High Court followed the correct procedure, and the challenged judgement does not require any intervention.

2. The appeal is rejected in its entirety, with costs.

3. In the event of the respondent, the appropriate orders must be given within one month of the date of the ruling.

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