Read Order: Dr. Richa Budhiraja v. State of Haryana and others

Tulip Kanth

Chandigarh, October 13,2021: While dismissing a Petition which challenged an impugned Order by which the petitioner was disengaged from her role as District Child Protection Officer on contract basis, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has opined that the Authorities were not obligated to give any reason, while disengaging any contractual employee, on completion of the period of contract of employment.

Herein, the petitioner was appointed as District Child Protection Officer on contract basis and the period of contract was extended from time to time. In February, 2019, the appellant proceeded on medical leave from February 4, 2019 till February 25,2019 and she rejoined duty on February 26,2019. 

However on rejoining, she was not given charge of the post of District Child Protection Officer. The appellant gave number of representations, but authorities failed to take any action. On this, she approached this Court through writ petition challenging the action of the authorities whereby she was denied charge of the post of District Child Protection Officer. 

During the pendency of the writ petition, the authorities passed an order (Annexure P-35), whereby contract of all other employees was extended except that of the appellant. 

Later, a Single Judge Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the writ petition by impugned order dated February 26,2021. The appellant had filed the present Appeal against this order.

One of the main contentions put forth from the petitioner’s side was that the appellant and some other persons were engaged on contract basis by the authorities as District Child Protection Officer for a particular project/scheme and the said scheme is still in existence. It being so, the authorities were having no ground to disengage the appellant, while extending contract of employment of the other similarly situated contractual employees. 

Referring to the decisions rendered in the judgment of Gridco Limited & Another vs. Sri Sadananda Doloi & Ors and State of Maharashtra & Ors. vs. Anita & Anr., the Bench of Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill stated that it is settled law that termination of the contractual employment in accordance with the terms of contract was permissible and the employee could claim no protection against such termination even when one of the contracting parties happened to be the State. 

Furthermore, the Bench observed that as per letter of intent, the services of the appellant could be terminated if her work and conduct was found to be unsatisfactory. A show cause notice was issued to the appellant for not attending the monthly meeting which was held on January 28,2019. 

The Court noted that from the perusal of an Annexure, P-14, it was evident that the reply submitted by the appellant to the show cause notice was not found satisfactory and she was given warning to be careful in future. It being so, the Single Judge rightly observed that the appraisal report of 2018-19 whereby the appellant was found fit for extension, was not of any help as subsequent to that her work and conduct was found not satisfactory by the authorities.

The Bench was of the view that the contractual employee has got no right to have his/her contract renewed from time to time. In this context, the decision of the Supreme Court in Yogesh Mahajan vs. R.C. Deka, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences was referred to, wherein the petitioner was engaged on contract basis as a technical assistant and the initial contract was renewed from time to time till June 30,2010 but thereafter no further extension was given and he challenged the same, unsuccessfully till the Apex Court.

In light of this settled position of law, the Bench held that the authorities were not obligated to give any reason, while disengaging any contractual employee, on completion of the period of contract of employment.

According to the Bench, in the instant case, it apparently appeared that the contract of employment was terminated as the work and conduct of the appellant was not found upto the mark by the authorities. 

Dismissing the Petition, the Bench observed that the Single Judge also rightly held that the appellant be paid salary for the period from February 26,2019 till October 6,2020, when she remained in service, though was not given the charge of the post of District Child Protection Officer.

0 CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment