Petitions by hourly paid lecturers dismissed

Pulling up the Puducherry government for resorting to ad-hoc appointments frequently, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Madras Bench, has asked it to put an end to such a practice and fill vacancies by following recruitment rules.

Judicial member of the Bench G. Shanthappa made this observation while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by 111 lecturers paid on hourly basis, seeking absorption as trained graduate teachers and regularisation of their service.

In 2003, the Puducherry government engaged them as hourly-paid lecturers in government higher secondary schools in various disciplines on certain conditions. One of the conditions was that their engagement would not confer any right on them for claiming seniority or any regular appointment. They accepted those conditions.

Filling the present applications, they contended that as per a direction of the Madras of High Court, the authorities regularised a few of the lecturers junior to them. When juniors were considered for regular appointment, the authorities could not deny the legitimate expectation of the applicants for regularisation/ absorption.

The Puducherry government admitted that there are no recruitment rules for regularisation of the hourly-paid lecturers. “The applicants can submit their respective applications for appointment under the notification. As of now, most of the applicants are age-barred. They are not eligible for selection under the regular recruitment process. As directed by the High Court, the applicants will be regularised in a phased manner.” The Bench observed: “The Government of Puducherry, is resorting to frequent ad-hoc appointments on consolidated pay, hourly pay basis, etc., for regular vacancies which are governed by recruitment rules framed under Article 309 of the Constitution. This mode of recruitment de hors the rules is against Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution. After allowing such illegal appointments to continue for a few years, the respondents (the Puducherry government) are facing the challenge of regularisation of such illegal appointments.”

Stating that the applicants have no legal right to ask for the relief prayed, the Bench also made it clear that “without amending the recruitment rules, regularisation of the applicants services will be illegal. If the services of the applicants are regularised, it would amount to violation of law laid down by the Supreme Court.”