Not a case of replacement of ad hoc by ad hoc, appellants period of contractual engagement ended, hence no illegality in discontinuing their services: Gujarat High Court

The question is as to whether the work exists for which services would be required or not would be a question of fact and can be only decided by leading evidence by the parties. Such disputed question or issue cannot be decided under Article 226 of the Constitution. This was said in the case of Patel Savan Bharatbhai vs State Of Gujarat [C/LPA/776/2020] by Mr. Justice Nath, Ashutosh J. Shastri in the High Court of Gujarat.

The facts of the case are that present appellants were appointed on contractual basis for a period of 11 months on non-teaching post on completely ad hoc / temporary basis against an advertisement. Thereafter, they were given a further appointment for a fixed period against fixed salary of Rs.13,200/. The University took a decision to fill up the ad hoc / temporary contractual non-teaching posts through outsourcing. This would result into discontinuance of the appellants. The learned Single Judge vide judgment dated 08.10.2020 dismissed the writ petitions filed by the appellants challenging the decision of the University. Aggrieved by the said judgment of the learned Single Judge dated 08.10.2020 the present appeals have been filed.

The appellants contended that the University is deliberately not appointing regular staff and continuing with contractual employees and exploiting them time and again for vested reasons. It was also contended that the appellants have been appointed after following selection procedure against an open advertisement, and therefore, discontinuing them from service is contrary to public policy and amounts to clear exploitation under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.

On the other hand, the respondents contended that the challenge by way of the Civil Applications to the advertisement inviting e-tenders to engage an outsourcing agency is beyond the scope of these appeals. Secondly, appellants’ appointment being contractual in nature they had no right to challenge the said tender and even if they have any right the same would be a separate cause of action and cannot form part of these appeals. The work for which the appellants were engaged no longer existed as such their engagements were not continued any further.

Rejecting the contentions of the appellants, the Court opined that “This is not a case of replacement of temporary ad hoc employees by another set of ad hoc or temporary employees. The appellants were engaged on contractual basis and their period of engagement having come to an end there is no illegality in discontinuing their services. If the appellants were engaged for a specific work and their requirement was for a fixed period and if the same is disputed, apparently such disputed facts cannot be resolved under writ jurisdiction”.

Furthermore, the Court said that “the specific stand of the University is that the work which was being performed by the appellants was no longer required by the University to be continued and as such there was no question of any replacement of the present appellants by the University through an outsourcing agency for carrying the work which they were doing. The requirement of the University is for other posts, but not for the work which was being carried out by the appellants”. Hence, the appeals lack merit and they are dismissed.

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