Shimla: The Himachal High Court disposed off a bunch of petitions on Monday directing the government to give regular appointment to teachers and others, who after applying under a policy change were offered contract jobs.
Deciding the 34 petitions, Justice Deepak Gupta observed that they were being disposed of by a common judgment since similar questions of law and facts were involved.
In response to a question before the court, â€œwhether the recruitment and promotion rules relating to the posts in question existing on the date when advertisement was issued are applicable while filling in the posts or the employer has the right to change the rules after advertisement has been issued and selection can be made on the basis of amended or new rulesâ€ the judge observed that â€œall appointments under government are expected to be made as per recruitment and promotion rules and if rules do not permit, the government cannot make contractual appointments.”
The decision to make direct recruitment on contractual basis was taken at a later stage, the judge observed.
The matter pertained to appointments of 267 teachers and a steno-typists, advertisements for which were issued in the year 2002. Selection processes, including written and skill tests, interviews were conducted but with state assembly election being held in between and a new government assuming in power in February, 2003, appointments of selected candidates were withheld.
An inquiry ordered by the government had found no flaw with the selection process.
In the meantime rules were changed and the government changed recruitment policy from providing regular jobs to contractual ones.
After a new government came to power in December, 2007, the selected candidates were offered contractual jobs.
The government counsel argument that when the government has the power to appoint, it also has the power to appoint on contractual basis was rejected by the judge saying that at the time when the selection process was initiated and selection was made, the government had not even though of making contractual appointments.
â€œGovernment appointments are made in accordance with the rules framed under Article 309 of the constitution,â€ Justice Gupta noted.
The court directed that all petitioners are to be treated as regular employees from their date of appointment, with all consequential benefits.
Should the government not be able to grant all financial benefits by March 2012, the state would be liable to pay an interest of 9 % per annum to them, the judge decreed.