Badal govt plan to regularise employees before elections hits legal hurdles
The Punjab government’s contentious push in the poll-bound state to regularise the service of the employees hired through “backdoor” (on contract or temporary basis) has hit legal and administrative hurdles.punjab Updated: Sep 27, 2016 20:25 IST
The Punjab government’s contentious push in the poll-bound state to regularise the service of the employees hired through “backdoor” (on contract or temporary basis) has hit legal and administrative hurdles.
The proposal also takes these appointments “out of the ambit of judicial review” by making two laws, says a government source. Last December, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal promised 1.2-lakh government jobs, and the government recently proposed to regularise service after three years on contract, ad-hoc, daily-wages, temporary, or work-charge basis.
More than 30,000 people were appointed in different departments in the past four years without any transparent procedure. Sources say the bureaucracy was under pressure from the political masters, who wanted to table the proposal in Monday’s cabinet meeting but had to shelve the plan after the finance department objected, citing the already grim financial health of the state.
In its Monday evening meeting, the cabinet had informal discussion over the fate of this proposal and directed the bureaucracy to place a detailed report/agenda of this policy matter in next cabinet meeting to be held on October 4.
The government didn’t receive a positive opinion from the legal remembrancer (LR). Hindustan Times has seen official documents that suggest that the government wants to achieve its objective by making two laws. The draft proposal of the two Bills was sent to the LR for advice. While the first proposal pertained to group-B-C employees, the second related to group-D employees.
Earlier, the government wanted to introduce a related Bill in the last assembly session. Now, it is left only with the ordinance route, which is fraught with uncertainties and looks like a remote possibility.
Sources say the LR told the government that its proposed legislative measure should not amount to “backdoor entry” or cause “injustice to those who seek front-door entry”. The LR’s advice reads: “... advised to ensure that no irregular appointment is regularised by the proposed legislative measure, as there appears to be no barometer to work out who was appointed validly.”
The government had sent the proposal to the LR without working out the exact number of appointments in various departments. Issuing a four-point technical advice “subject to the observations”, the LR had said: “The authority of the court for judicial review is sought to be withdrawn and it may be seen as to whether such a provision can stand scrutiny of the court.”
Before making a law, the government seeks four-point technical advice from the LR under the 1992 Rules of Business of the Punjab government. Sources say the LR stated categorically that “the object in view cannot be achieved” without making laws on the subject matter. But the LR’s advice that “whether or not such a provision (law) can stand scrutiny of the court” has forced the government to re-draw its strategy.