K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has opined that the Union Labour Ministry, New Delhi, ought to make a reference to the Central Government Industrial Tribunal, Chennai, within four weeks, to decide whether 15 persons working with Doordarshan Kendra here are entitled to be declared regular employees.

On such representation being made, the tribunal should adjudicate the reference and pass an award within eight weeks from the date of receipt of the order of reference.

Passing a common order on two writ petitions, Justice M. Venugopal directed the Director, Prasar Bharati Broadcasting Corporation of India (PBBCI), Doordarshan Kendra, to maintain the present status of the petitioners/casuals on the same terms and conditions as on date without prejudice to the contentions of the respective parties.

The main contention of the petitioners, H. Danesh and 14 others, was that they were entitled for regularisation as they had put in 10 to 15 years of service.

The official authorities submitted that notwithstanding the fact that the petitioners were on the rolls of the establishment as on September 1, 1993, none of them had worked 240 days in a calendar year and were not eligible to claim the benefit under the conferment of Temporary Status Rules, 1993.

Disposing of the petitions, Mr. Justice Venugopal said a careful consideration of respective contentions and the important fact that the petitioners were reportedly working as casuals for more than 10 to 15 years in different capacities and since their claim for regularisation as per the ID Act had been repudiated, a moot question that arose for rumination was whether the petitioners were entitled to be declared regular employees.