HC seeks Govt response on plea challenging disengagement of 918 SWD helpers
Srinagar: The High Court has sought government response on a plea challenging disengagement of 918 Helpers to Supervisors in the Social Welfare Department (SWD).
Issuing notice to the government on the petition seeking to quash the order under which 918 helpers to supervisors in the SWD were disengaged on 27 August 2021, a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar said, “Subject to objections, and till the next date of hearing, the petitioners if they are in position as on date and performing their duties, they should be allowed to continue and paid their wages.”
The court listed the petition for further hearing on 15 March 2022.
In their plea filed through their counsel T A Lone and Umer Mir, the petitioners have submitted that they are aggrieved of the order (SWD/ICDS/49/2021) dated 27 August 2021 issued by the SWD asking Director Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), J&K to disengage 918 Helpers to Supervisors.
Seeking scrapping of the order, the petitioners also seek direction to allow them to continue to work as Helpers to Supervisors in the concerned ICDS Projects.
The petitioners contend that they were engaged as Helpers to Supervisors under the ICDS in different projects to assist the Supervisors in the implementation of the scheme through various Anganwadi centers.
They submit that the officials including Commissioner Secretary SWD or Mission Director, ICDS, J&K being a state or its instrumentalities under Article 12 and 226 of the constitution had to act in a just, fair and reasonable manner.
“They cannot on their whim and caprice issue the order disengaging the petitioners, thereby depriving rights of the genuine candidate who after fulfilling norms of the scheme have been engaged,” they said. “The order, other action and inaction of respondents (officials) are arbitrary, unfair, unjust, and unreasonable, and discriminatory in nature.”
They contend that according to the principle of legitimate expectation if the authority proposes to defeat a person’s legitimate expectation, it should allow him to make a representation in the matter.
“But no opportunity or show cause notice was given to the petitioners,” they said.
While the petition highlights that the order disengaging the petitioners had been issued without inquiry and affording any opportunity to petitioners to prove their case, it says the government had acted judge of its cause and decided the matter as it had no jurisdiction and power to disengage the petitioners.
The petitioners said that they had been working continuously without break for a pretty long time and as such the government was duty-bound to continue the petitioners till the scheme was operational.
Contending that they accepted the engagement as a Helper to the Supervisor and worked in hard days, the petitioners said that the respondent cannot throw away them like a torn cloth.
The petitioners seek a direction that they should be paid the unpaid wages or honorarium, and also a direction to the government to verify the vacancy position and frame a scheme for their absorption “in a fair and just manner”.
Under the order, the SWD asked the Mission Director ICDS, J&K to disengage 918 Helpers to Supervisors with effect from 1 September 2021 “as they have been engaged beyond any competence by various officers and officials from time to time”.