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