Title: KULDEEP KUMAR MALHOTRA AND ORS. versus DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND ORS.
Date of decision: July 14, 2023
+ W.P.(C) 9319/2023, CM APPLs. 35472/2023, 35473/2023 & 35474/2023
+ W.P.(C) 9320/2023, CM APPLs. 35480/2023, 35481/2023 & 35482/2023
UMA SHANKER BHARTI versus DELHI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND ORS
CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE V. KAMESWAR RAO
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ANOOP KUMAR MENDIRATTA
Delhi High Court Dismissed the Writ petition and upheld the verdict of the tribunal. whereby the Tribunal has dismissed the O.A. filed by the petitioners herein being bereft of any merit.
Facts of the case
The petitioners in this case are ex-servicemen who left the Indian Army after serving their regular term.
After their retirement, they were employed as Typists/Clerks on a contract basis at various times throughout the years 2010–2012 by the respondent, the Delhi Development Authority (abbreviated as “DDA”).
The letter of appointment stated that the contract may be cancelled at any moment, but the original term of employment was extended from six months to one year on a consolidated salary.
The petitions have been submitted in opposition to the termination notice of June 7, 2022. The O.A. also included a remedy for the cancellation of the policy dated December 5, 2018. The petitioners’ argument before the Tribunal was that they were bound by a policy that was announced on December 30, 2017, which stated that the age restriction would not be greater than 65 years, while they were employed as Typist/Clerk. There was a clause, nevertheless, that stated that even this age restriction of 65 may be eased in the public interest under meritorious and extraordinary circumstances.
The policy for 2018 was also contested on the grounds that it was released without the permission of a competent authority. Apart from that, they argued that the respondent DDA could not have violated the law established by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana v. Piara Singh, (1992) 4 SCC 118, by implementing the policy of 2018. In that case, the Court categorically held that contractual employees cannot be replaced by another group of contractual employees, which the respondent intends to do by implementing the policy of 2018.
The respondents’ position, however, was that the petitioners had no authority over the appointment when they appeared before the Tribunal. This is especially true in light of the conditions outlined in their initial contract, which stated that their services might be terminated at any moment.
Apart from that, the contract employees can’t be hired for an indefinite amount of time because they were hired for a specific task. Additionally, the policy, which is general in nature and applies to everyone, cannot be challenged because the DDA is a government organisation. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the matter of Harsh Ajay Singh v. Union of India, W.P.(C) 11011/2022 has been relied upon.
The Tribunal rejected the O.As. filed by the petitioners.
Analysis of the court
The petitioners, who are ex-service members who resigned from the Indian Army, were first hired by the DDA for a six-month stint as typists/clerks. They lasted for approximately 12 years in accordance with that. According to the DDA’s 2017 guideline, their engagement may have lasted another 65 years. The DDA is within its rights to implement the new policy it has set for the employment of consultants and advisors, which includes engagement as typists and clerks.
The DDA claims that the policy is necessary to draw in new talent. Aside from that, they contend that the petitioners are not prohibited from being hired as consultants or advisors if that is what is deemed appropriate. If such is the case, it cannot be argued that the DDA’s policy, which mandates the engagement of consultants/advisors every five years, is arbitrary given that their attention has not been given. The petitioners’ reliance on the Piara Singh decision (above) is not appropriate given the facts of these instances since the engagement complies with the 2018 policy and is not, therefore, a temporary appointment. In other words, it is an ongoing process whosoever found fit for being engaged, shall be engaged and everyone will have equal opportunity for engagement.
The DDA actually created the 2018 policy, and it is within its rights to do so for the purpose of allowing the engagement of Consultants/Advisors. They support their claims with the fact that the Indian government has established one. In that regard, this approach has created uniformity for the selection of consultants and advisors. We concur with the Tribunal’s judgement as stated in paragraphs 21 through 24, which we have copied above. These writ petitions and associated applications are dismissed in light of the conversation we just had.
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