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Jharkhand Van Shramik Union Vs. State of Jharkhand and Ors - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtJharkhand High Court
Decided On
AppellantJharkhand Van Shramik Union
RespondentState of Jharkhand and Ors
..... spousing  the  cause of  its 23 members  who were  working on class­iv posts on daily wages submitted representations  before   the   authorities   which   remained   pending.   compelled,   the  petitioner   approached   this   court   in   c.w.j.c.   no.1660   of   1996(r)  which   was   disposed   of   vide   order   dated   28.08.1996   directing   the  respondent­authority to take a decision on the representation of the  petitioner­union,   in   response   thereof,   the   petitioner   received  communication   dated   07.01.1997   from   the   chief   conservator   of  forest,   bihar   through   which,   order   dated   06.01.1997   was .....

1 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI       W.P.(S) No. 2404 of 2010    Jharkhand   Van   Shramik   Union   Daltonganj,   South   Forest   Division,  Palamau, Daltonganj through its president Siddhi Nath Jha, son of  Late Komal Nath Jha, resident of Daltonganj, PO & PS Daltonganj,  Dist. Palamau    …     Petitioner                                    Versus 1. The State of Jharkhand  2. Commissioner­cum­Secretary, Department of Forest &  Environment, Government of Jharkhand, Nepal House, PO & PS  Doranda, Dist. Ranchi 3. Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Government of Jharkhand,  Forest Bhawan, PO & PS Doranda, Dist. Ranchi 4. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Government of  Jharkhand,  Forest Bhawan, PO & PS Doranda, Dist. Ranchi 5. Chief Conservator of Forest (Wild Life), Government of  Jharkhand, Forest Bhawan, PO & PS  Doranda, Dist. Ranchi  6.  Conservator of Forest­cum­Filed Director, Tiger Project,  Daltonganj, PO & PS Daltonganj, Dist. Palamau 7.  Conservator of Forest (Buffer Area), Tiger Project, Daltonganj,  South Forest Division, PO & PS Daltonganj, Dist. Palamau 8.  Conservator of Forest (Core Area), Tiger Project,  Daltonganj, South Forest Division, PO & PS Daltonganj, Dist. Palamau 9.  Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission, through its Secretary, At     F­49/50 Sector III, PO & PS Dhurwa, Dist. Ranchi   10.  Examination Controller, Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission,  Office at F­49/50 Sector III, PO & PS Dhurwa, Dist. Ranchi             ...      Respondents   ­­­­­­­        CORAM : HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SHREE CHANDRASHEKHAR     ­­­­­­     For the Petitioner      : Mr. Jitendra S. Singh,  Advocate For the Respondent­State    : Mr. R. K. Shahi, JC to AAG For the Respondent­JSSC    : Mr. M. S. Anwar, Sr. Advocate   ­­­­­­­  18/18.10.2016   The   petitioner­Jharkhand   Van   Shramik   Union,   a  registered union  of employees working on different Class­IV posts,  which initially approached this Court in C.W.J.C. No.1660 of 1996(R)  for regularisation of 23 employees in service and again moved this  Court in C.W.J.C. No.3453 of 1999(R) and W.P.(S) No.166 of 2003  with similar prayers, is aggrieved of order dated 05.11.2009 passed  by the Conservator of Forest (Core Area), Tiger Project, Daltonganj  whereby   the   claim   for   regularisation   of   its   members   has   been  2 rejected.   2. Heard.

3. The   brief   facts   of   the   case   disclose   that,   the  petitioner­union    spousing  the  cause of  its 23 members  who were  working on Class­IV posts on daily wages submitted representations  before   the   authorities   which   remained   pending.   Compelled,   the  petitioner   approached   this   Court   in   C.W.J.C.   No.1660   of   1996(R)  which   was   disposed   of   vide   order   dated   28.08.1996   directing   the  respondent­authority to take a decision on the representation of the  petitioner­union,   in   response   thereof,   the   petitioner   received  communication   dated   07.01.1997   from   the   Chief   Conservator   of  Forest,   Bihar   through   which,   order   dated   06.01.1997   was  communicated to the petitioner and others.  Order dated 06.01.1997  refers to Resolution dated 18.06.1993 of the Department of Personnel  &   Administrative   Reforms   and   letters   dated     04.10.1996   and  13.11.1996 which are the communications for preparation of panel  for appointment of eligible candidates who were working on daily  wages.     Vide   order   dated   06.01.1997,   the   Chief   Conservator   of  Forest, Bihar ordered verification of the application/ representation  of the petitioner­union and for forwarding the same to a Committee  constituted   for   considering   its   claim.   It   appears   that   when   final  decision on the claim for regularisation of the daily wages employees  working   in   the   Tiger   Project,   Palamau   was   not   taken,   the  petitioner­union came to this Court in C.W.J.C. No.3453 of 1999(R).  The   writ   petition   was   disposed   of   vide   order   dated   07.06.2001,  directing   the   respondent­State   to   take   appropriate   decision   for  regularisation of services of the daily wages employees against the  sanctioned posts or the future vacancy, in accordance with law.  The  respondent­State,   thereafter,   issued   letter   dated   12.06.2002   for  engaging the employees on daily wages who had been working prior  to 1985 till a scheme is formulated and preliminary scrutiny of the  daily wages employees working there is conducted.  Due to delay on  the   part   of   the   respondent­authorities,   the   petitioner­union   again  3 approached   this   Court   in   W.P.(S)   No.166   of   2003,   in     which   vide  order   dated   04.07.2008,   the   respondents   were   directed   to   file   a  supplementary counter­affidavit disclosing the period within which a  final decision regarding the regularisation of the daily wagers would  be taken.   Again, vide order dated 22.12.2008 the respondents were  directed to disclose the number of vacant posts for the Buffer area  and Core area of Tiger Project, Palamau. The said writ­petition was  finally   disposed   of   vide   order   dated   01.04.2009,   directing   the  respondents to take a decision within three months in the light of the  affidavits filed in the said writ­proceeding.   Impugned order dated  05.11.2009 has been passed in compliance of the aforesaid direction  issued by this Court in W.P.(S) No.166 of 2003.     4. Mr.   Jitendra   S.   Singh,   the   learned   counsel   for   the  petitioner   submits   that   the   impugned   order   dated   05.11.2009   has  been passed on the ground that the daily wages employees are not  working   on   sanctioned   posts   whereas,   the   affidavit   filed   in   the  proceeding   of   W.P.(S)   No.   166   of   2003   by   the   respondents   would  demonstrate that the members of the petitioner­union are working  against sanctioned vacant post.   It is submitted that a chart of   54  daily wages employees who were working on sanctioned posts prior  to 01.08.1985 was produced in the proceeding of W.P.(S) No. 166 of  2003   and   the   said   chart   contains   the   name   of   members   of   the  petitioner­union.  It is contended that keeping a person employed on  a sanctioned post for an unreasonable period is violative of Article 14  and   21   of   the   Constitution   of   India   and   the   stand   taken   by   the  respondents in the present proceeding, thus, cannot be countenanced  in law.   5. Per   contra,   the   learned   State   counsel,   reiterating   the  stand   taken   in   the   counter­affidavit,   submits   that   the   daily   wages  employees   were   engaged   in   a   project   and   their   employment   was  purely   temporary   in   nature.   Referring   to   Notification  dated 13.02.2015, the learned State counsel submits that the claim  for regularisation of the daily wages employees cannot be considered  4 in terms of the scheme framed by the Government, as the daily wages  employees who are members of petitioner­union were not engaged  on sanctioned posts.

6. Now, referring to the impugned order dated 05.11.2009,  I find that after referring to number of vacancies in the Core Area  and   noticing   that   the   members   of   the   petitioner­union   were  appointed   on   daily   wages,   the   respondent­Conservator   of   Forest,  Core Area has held that   they are not working against sanctioned  vacant posts, however, the impugned order does not reflect how the  respondent­authority has arrived at such conclusion.  This is the only  reason   for   rejecting   the   claim   of   regularisation   of   daily   wages  employees.   The   finding   recorded   by   the   Conservator   of   Forest   in  paragraph   no.   8   of   the   impugned   order   dated   05.11.2009   is  apparently   erroneous   and   contrary   to   the   supplementary  counter­affidavit dated 15.01.2009 filed on behalf of the respondents  in the proceeding of W.P.(S) No. 166 of 2003.   In the said affidavit  the respondents' stand was stated thus ;  “5.  That it stated and submitted that there are 20 class IV posts   are vacant at present out of which 12 posts are vacant in the   office of Buffer Area, Project Tiger, Daltonganj and 8 posts are   vacant in the office of Core Area, Project Tiger, Daltonganj 6.    That   it   is   stated   that   the   lists   of   daily   wage   labourers   including the members of petitioner's union working in the Buffer   Area and Core Area, Project Tiger, Daltonganj, have been sent to   Deputy   Commissioner,   Latehar   for   appointment   against   the   existing   vacancies   in   class   IV   posts,   in   pursuant   to   the   Government   decision.   The   matter   is   pending   at   level   of   D.C.   Latehar.  7. That it is submitted that there are 94 vacant posts of forest   guards are existing at present.  Out of which 63 vacant posts are   in   the   Buffer   Area,   Project   Tiger,   Daltonganj   and   31   posts   of   forests guard in the Core Area Project Tiger, Daltonganj.”  7. A chart of the daily wages employees who are working  uninterrupted   prior   to  01.08.1985   has  also  been   produced   by   the  5 petitioner.  The said list was sent along with letter dated 31.12.2008  to the Deputy Commissioner, Latehar by the Conservator of Forest,  Core Area, Tiger Project, Daltonganj and this list contains the name  of as many as 54 persons.  The petitioner­union has asserted that its  members who are working on daily wages have been included in the  said list.   Column 10 of the said list indicates that all 54 persons  were   working   on   sanctioned   vacant   post.   Reference   of   letter  dated 31.12.2008 is found in the impugned order dated 05.11.2009  also.   Nonetheless, the respondent­Conservator of Forest, Core Area  has erroneously held that the members of the petitioner­union are  not working on sanctioned vacant post and therefore, their services  cannot be regularised.   The aforesaid finding of the Conservator of  Forest, therefore, is held erroneous, in so far as, 54 employees are  concerned. The claim of any other person beyond the aforesaid list  shall be decided on its own merits.

8. In so far as, regularisation of the daily wages employees  is   concerned,   it   is   borne   from   the   record   that   panel   of   eligible  candidates   was   prepared   and   sent   to   the   Deputy   Commissioner,  however, further steps were not taken in the matter. The respondents  in   their   counter­affidavit   have   admitted   that   in   Project   Tiger,  Daltonganj,   there   are   94   vacant   posts   of   Forest   Guards.     Several  letters   and   orders   of   this   Court   have   been   brought   on   record   to  demonstrate that on account of delay on the part of the respondents,  hundreds   of   daily   wages   employees   have   been   deprived   of   the  benefit of appointment on permanent basis.  The learned counsel for  the petitioner has referred to letter dated 27.06.2015, through which  the authorities under the Forest department were directed to initiate  the   process   of   regularisation   of   daily   wages   employees   who   have  completed 10 years of service till 10.04.2006.

9. The   impugned   order   dated   05.11.2009   refers   to   order  passed   in   Bishwanath   Gope   and   Basant   Kumar   Baghel   cases.   It  appears that in the proceeding of Contempt Case (C) Nos. 229 of  2002   and   175   of   2002   a   direction   was   issued   to   the  6 Chief Conservator of Forest to approach the State Government for  sanctioning the posts on which the applicants were working for last  20 years.  Letters Patent Appeals being L.P.A. Nos. 649 of 2002 and  658 of 2002 were preferred by State of Jharkhand against the order  passed   in   the   aforesaid   contempt   cases.   A   Division   Bench   of   this  Court disposed of the aforesaid L.P.As in the following terms :

“4. From   the   said   affidavit,   it   appears   that   1,333   posts of Forest Guards are vacant under different Divisional   Forest Officers. It is informed that those posts will be filled   up in near future.  Roster clearance will be completed by the   end   of   January,   2005   and   appointments   will   be   made   thereafter, which may take three months' time.   5.   It is not in dispute that the State Government vide   its Resolution dated 18th  June, 1993 have decided to give   preference to a daily wage worker over an outsider and, if   so necessary, to relax the age, if found overage. 6.    In the facts and circumstances, while we modify   the   order   passed   by   the   learned   Single   Judge   relating   to   creation   of   posts   in   State   Trading   Division,   affirm   the   observations as made by the learned Single Judge that the   writ petitioners/Respondents should  not be thrown out of   serve   after   about   twenty   years,   but   they   should   be   accommodated against some other vacant posts.  7. In the circumstances, we direct the appellant State   of   Jharkhand   and   its   Officer   including   the   concerned   Divisional Forest Officers to give preference to daily wagers   like the writ petitioners/Respondents over outsiders, as and   when Class­IV posts including the post of Forest Guards are   filled up in near future and to give them age relaxation, if   they  are  found   over   age.    However,  this   direction   will  be   limited   to   only   those   daily   wage  Government  and   not  to   those who have already been retrenched/not in service.     If   so   necessary,   the   Divisional   Forest   Officers   in   their   advertisement will mention that the daily wage employees   will be given preference over outsiders, if they are equally   7 situated and age relaxation may be given in their case, if   found over­age.  8. The order passed by the learned Single Judge is   modified to the extent above.   9.     Both   the   appeals   stand   disposed   of   with   the   aforesaid observations and directions.”  10. About   a   decade   thereafter,   Jharkhand   Staff   Selection  Commission issued Advertisement No. 03 of 2014 for appointment of  Forest Guards.  The selection process has since been completed and  Mr.   M.S.   Anwar,   the   learned   Senior   counsel   appearing   for   the  Commission   informs   the   Court   that   only   one   candidate   has   been  found suitable for appointment to the  post of  Forest Guard.   It is  thus, an admitted position that more than 2200 posts under Class­III  and   Class­IV   under   the   Department   of   Forest   and   Environment,  Government   of   Jharkhand   are   vacant.   The   materials   on   record  disclose that several persons are working on daily wages for more  than 20­25 years.   11. Undoubtedly,   the   members  of   the   petitioner­union   and  hundreds of other Class­IV employees who have been working for  more   than   10   years,   in   the   light   of   the   scheme   as   contained   in  Notification dated 13.02.2015,  are entitled for consideration of their  claim   for   regularisation.   There   are   several   other   writ   petitions  pending in this Court seeking regularisation of Class­IV employees  working under the Department of Forest and Environment.  Few writ  petitions are listed today also along with the instant writ petition.  In  these facts, I am of the opinion that the State must act to implement  its decision to regularise the services of employees falling under the  scheme of 2015, expeditiously.   12. Accordingly,   respondent   nos.   2   and   3   are   directed   to  initiate   the   process   for   regularisation   of   daily   wages   employees  working   in   the   Department,   in   terms   of   Notification   dated  13.02.2015,   and   complete   the   process   within   six   months.  Observation of the Conservator of Forest in paragraph no. 8 of the  8 impugned order dated 05.11.2009 whereunder he has held that the  members of the petitioner­union are not working on sanctioned post  shall not apply to those daily wages employees whose names appear  in the list annexed along with letter dated 31.12.2008. It is further  clarified that this order is not confined only to the employees in the  instant   writ   petition   rather,   the   process   of   regularisation   of   daily  wages   employees   working   under   the   Department   of   Forest   and  Environment   shall   cover   all   such   employees   who   are   working   for  more   than   10   years   under   the   Department   of   Forest   and  Environment.

13. The writ petition is allowed, in the aforesaid terms.  14. In   the   light   of   order   passed   in   the   writ   petition,  I.A.  No. 4118 of 2015 stands disposed of.        (Shree Chandrashekhar, J.)      SI/Amit/A.F.R

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