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Respondents directed to grant work charge status to petitioners on completion of 8 years services with all consequential benefits including seniority: Himachal Pradesh High Court

The right seeking of benefits of regularization of service is a right akin to a fundamental right guaranteed to the workman. This was said in the case of Yashwant Singh And Others v State Of Himachal Pradesh And Others [CWPOA No.46 of 2020] by Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla

The facts of the case are that petitioner No.1 was engaged as ‘beldar’ on daily waged basis with effect from 01.11.1997 and, according to him, he was entitled to work charge status with effect from 01.01.2006, but his services were regularized on 05.01.2010. Whereas, petitioner No.2 was engaged as daily waged ‘beldar’ with effect from 01.01.2000 and, according to him, he was entitled to the work charge status with effect from 01.01.2008, but his services were regularized on 06.10.2010. 4. The services of petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 have been ordered to be regularized after completion of 10 years instead of 8 years and aggrieved thereby, they have filed the instant petition.

The respondents opposed the claim of the petitioners on the ground that this Court in  Gauri Dutt v State of HP [CWP No. 778 of 2006] decided categorically held that a workman is entitled to work charge status after completion of 10 years of service. Secondly, it was contended that instant petition is clearly time barred and is, therefore, liable to be dismissed on this ground alone.

After hearing the learned counsels and going through the records of the case, the Court opined that, “It is not in dispute that the petitioners No.1 and 2 had completed 240 days of their service in each calendar year and, therefore, their services were required to be regularized as per the policy that was prevalent as on the date of consideration of their cases for regularization. Indisputably, the policy in vogue on the date of consideration clearly providing for regularization of services of daily waged workers, who had continuously worked for 8 years and, therefore, the respondents could not have illegally and arbitrarily regularized the services of petitioners No.1 and 2 on 05.01.2010 and 06.10.2010, respectively i.e. on completion of 10 years of service”.

Furthermore, the Court said that “It needs to be observed that where the Court is dealing with one of fundamental rights of poor workman, its role is that of a sentinel for protection of fundamental rights of the weak and down-trodden and cannot, therefore, easily allow itself to be persuaded to refuse the reliefs solely on jejune ground of delay and laches or the like. The right seeking of benefits of regularization of service is a right akin to a fundamental right guaranteed to the workman. Therefore, the plea of delay should not come in the way of granting relief to the workman, more particularly, when the Court is of the opinion that it is the inaction of the respondents that has formed basis of such delay”. Hence, the Court finds merit in the petition and is allowed.

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