HC dismisses casual laborers' plea for regularisation in PHE deptt

The High Court on Friday dismissed a plea by causal laborers of Public Health Engineering Department who were seeking directions for their regularization.

At least 106 petitioners who had claimed to have been engaged as casual labourers in PHE Department, Budgam, in 2005, 2006 and 2007 were seeking regularisation under Jammu and Kashmir Daily Rated Workers / Work Charged Employees (Regularisation) Rules, 1994.

“The law laid down is that where a casual labourer has continued to work for a sufficiently long period, it would not be apt to call him having been appointed on casual basis, and he would be entitled to regularization under the 1994 Rules,” reads a judgment delivered by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey. 

The Court, however, said the word used is “continued” which means a person who is appointed for a month or two during a calendar or financial year on need basis and is, thereafter, again engaged in some subsequent year for a month or two would not fall in such category.

With regard to the muster rolls of the petitioners, the court said: “Perusal of these muster rolls reveals that half of these are the copies of the other half, and a person shown to have been engaged during a particular period hardly has been engaged again during the other months and even if an engagement is repeated it is made, at best, for one more month after a considerable gap”.

“In any case, there is no document evidencing that any of the petitioners continued month after month as a casual labourer for a sufficiently long period to entitle him to the benefit claimed for in terms of the judgment relied upon by the petitioners,” the Court added.

In 1994, pursuant to Administrative Council Decision No. 14 dated 24.01.1994, the Government issued order No. 26-F of 1994 dated 31.01.1994 providing for regularisation of daily rated workers/work charged employees in terms of the conditions laid down therein, and withdrawing the practice of engaging daily wagers/ daily rated workers in the Government in any form.

While the petitioners had contended that they were engaged continuously, the officials had rejected their claim, stating that some need based casual labourers were engaged in 2005 but they had not continued in the department.

The officials said in order to verify the casual labourers working in the Division a committee was constituted in 2011-12 for physical verification of such labourers which was headed by the Superintending Engineer, Hydraulic Circle Budgam.

However, the officials said that the petitioners failed to submit the required documents before the Committee and were found not eligible.