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Govt practice of hiring on contract under SC scrutiny

Delhi government had been slammed for keeping a woman employee on contract for 10 years. Bhadra Sinha writes.

delhi Updated: Dec 11, 2011 22:28 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times

The Supreme Court has decided to review the existing government practice of hiring employees on contract and terminating their services after a long period without giving them any notice.

Expanding the scope of an appeal filed by a doctor whose employment was terminated by the Delhi government even as she worked as a contractual employee for an uninterrupted period of 10 years, a bench headed by justice GS Singhvi on Wednesday issued notice to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

The bench made UPSC a party in the case filed by Radha Dubey and sought the commission's response on the practice of hiring contractual employees all over the country. The court felt it was pertinent to implead UPSC as most of the posts on which people are serving on contract have to be filled up by the commission.

SC has already appointed senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta as amicus curaie in the case. Pursuant to a court order, Gupta has placed statistics of service matters pending before all the high courts and administrative tribunals in the country. He has also submitted a compilation of the legal position in various other countries.

Acting on Dubey's appeal challenging Delhi High Court verdict that declined relief to the doctor, the SC had slammed Delhi government for "exploiting" a woman employee by keeping her on contract for 10 years and then terminating her services abruptly.

The court had disapproved of the state's practice to appoint a person on contract for such a long duration and observed: "The state, as a model employer in a welfare state, is not expected to take advantage of its position."

Dubey was appointed as a medical officer in Delhi government's health department. She got the job on January 12, 1996, on a one-year contract. However, she continued in service for the next 10 years, without any break. But, the nature of her employment remained contractual.

As her widowed mother suffered from parkinson, Dubey proceeded on sanctioned leave on April 3, 2006. When her leave ended, she applied for an extension in June 2006 and July 2006 that was turned down. The government rejected her third request and also terminated her services in November 2007.

First Published: Dec 11, 2011 22:24 IST