High Court quashes advertisement notice on SKIMS Staff Nurses engagement

says ad hoc employee can’t be replaced by another ad hoc employee
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has quashed a SKIMS Soura notification of November 17 regarding engaging staff nurses on contractual basis in the tertiary care hospital.

“It is clear that there is consistent view of the Supreme Court that an ad hoc employee cannot be replaced by another ad hoc employee and he can be replaced only by another candidate who is regularly appointed by following a regular procedure prescribed,” a bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar said while quashing the advertisement notice.

The court, however, gave liberty to the authorities to issue a fresh advertisement notice inviting applications for filling up of vacant posts of Staff Nurses on substantive basis by making regular appointment against these posts.

It further directed that in case the authorities “need the services of Staff Nurses on contractual basis, they shall engage the services of the petitioners who are already working on contractual basis.”

 Contention  of the petitioners was that  they were engaged on April 28 last year by virtue of an advertisement (No.5 of 2020) dated 7 October 2020 whereby applications were invited for engagement on academic arrangement basis for the posts of Staff Nurses for a period of six months or till such time the posts are filled up on “substantive basis”.

“The authorities continued their services by giving them extensions from time to time. Last of such extensions was granted on 22 November 2022 till ending of November, 2022,” they said.

In the meanwhile, they said, the advertisement notice was issued on November 17, by which applications were invited for filling up of the vacant posts of Staff Nurses on academic arrangement basis.

They challenged the advertisement notice primarily on the ground that it was impermissible in law for the government to replace the temporary arrangement of engagement of petitioners with a similar arrangement.

According to them even though their appointment was purely of temporary and contractual in nature, yet government cannot replace them by a similar arrangement.

After hearing the parties, the Court quashed the advertisement notice, observing that it was not open to the official authorities to invite the applications from the candidates for filling up of posts of Staff Nurses on academic arrangement basis after disengaging the services of the petitioners, who were already working on a similar arrangement.

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