HC orders 84-yr-old woman's services be regularised

Appointed on a part-time basis in a government school in Punjab four decades ago, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered that the services of the 84-year-old Shanta Devi be regularised.

Shanti Devi was employed as a Kuhar, a person who performs petty tasks, on October 1, 1977, in a government senior secondary school in Khanori Kalan, Sangrur. She will now be regularised as a sweeper, in accordance to state government policy.

The services of another woman, a 48-year-old, who was working as a sweeper at another school since 1993, too were ordered to be regularised by the court.

The two women had approached the court in 2014 and were represented through their counsel C S Bagri.

The counsel had submitted before the court that Shanti Devi was not regularised by the authorities despite being in the job for over 40 years.

"Due to extreme poverty she is compelled to discharge her duties with the fond hope that her services will be regularised," the counsel had argued while pointing out that she was getting a meagre salary of Rs 2250 per month, increased from Rs 1850 per month in 2012.

In the case of the other woman, she was employed as a part-time sweeper on January 1, 1993, in a government elementary school, Baranasi, Sangrur and has been working there ever since.

It was also contended that the principals/heads of the schools where the two petitioners were working, needed full-time employees for the jobs that the women were carrying out and in this regard letters had been sent to the authorities.

The counsel also contended that the services of certain part-time Class IV employees, who were junior to the petitioners, were regularised vide order dated November 12, 2012, and they were getting higher salary than the aggrieved women.

In his order, Justice Jitendra Chauhan said: "After perusing the records and in view of the age of the petitioners, who are working in their respective schools from the last 21 to 35 years and still continuing in services, which are perennial in nature, the present petition is disposed of with a direction to the respondents to regularise the services.”

The state counsel argued that Shanti Devi had attained the age of superannuation nearly three decades ago and until that year, her turn for regularisation of services had not come as per the seniority position defined in the policy.

However, Justice Chauhan observed that since the two women were working for past so many years, the requirement of the posts was evident and rejected state's stand that a number of similarly situated persons were still awaiting regularisation for want of vacancies.      

“Since the petitioners are working for the past 21 to 35 years in their respective schools, it is manifest that there is a requirement of the posts. The stand taken by the state that a number of similarly situated persons are still awaiting regularisation of their services for want of vacancies, cannot be accepted as gospel truth,” he said in the order.

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HC orders 84-yr-old woman's services be regularised

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