New Delhi, April 22, 2022: Placing reliance on its judgment in Rattan Lal and others vs. State of Haryana and others, the Supreme Court has reiterated that an ad-hoc employee cannot be replaced by another ad-hoc employee and can be only replaced by a candidate who is regularly appointed by following the regular procedure prescribed.
The Division Bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai while partly upholding the order passed by the Single Judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh observed that the appellants in the present case were appointed on ad-hoc basis and therefore couldnot be terminated from the services till the selection of the regular employees for the same posts was made by following the regular procedure.
The present appeal was instituted to assail the judgment and order dated February 8, 2017 passed by the Division Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court wherein appeals filed by the State of Madhya Pradesh as well as the Jan Bhagidiri Samiti were allowed and the judgment and order dated September 29, 2016 passed by the Single Judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh was set aside.
Brief facts of the case for perusal of the present appeal were that the State Government of Madhya Pradesh issued a notification dated September 30, 1996 by which a Scheme was introduced stating that Government had decided that the local management of the Government Colleges was to be handed over to a Committee so as to ensure public participation in the Government College. A Committee known as Jan Bhagidari Samiti was also constituted under the scheme.
Thereafter, the Government through its order dated October 5, 2021 decided to commence some courses on a self- financing basis. For the said courses, the appointment was to be made on contractual/ tenure basis and the honorarium of the teachers and other staff was to be decided by the said committee. Consequently, the writ petitioners possessing requisite qualifications were appointed as guest faculty for the Academic Year 2014 – 2015. After the end of the Academic Year, the petitioners were terminated from the service.
Aggrieved by the same, the writ petitioners instituted writ petitions in the High Court. The Court allowed the petition by observing that the petitioners shall continue to work on their respective posts till regular selections were made. It was further directed that the petitioners were entitled to receive their salary as well in accordance with the UGC circular in February, 2010.
Thereafter, the State Government as well as the Presidents of the Jan Bhagidiri Samitis preferred the appeals before the Division Bench of the High Court. The Division Bench of the High Court through its impugned judgment and order allowed the appeals and accordingly the judgment passed by the Single Judge of the High Court was set aside. It was this impugned judgment and order of the High Court that was assailed by the appellant by way of special leave before the Apex Court.
The Counsel for the respondents submitted that the appointment of the appellants was neither ad- hoc nor temporary. It was submitted that appointment was on contractual basis for 11 months as guest lecturers. It was also submitted that the same was vividly mentioned in the Scheme , and the appellants did not challenge the same. Therefore, the Division Bench was right in its findings in the instant case, the Counsel submitted.
The Division Bench of as of the view that though the Counsel for the respondents vehemently submitted that the appellants were appointed as guest lecturers and not as ad- hoc employees, however, the nature of the advertisements vividly depicted that the appellants were appointed on ad-hoc basis, the Top Court remarked.
Thus, the Apex Court was of the view that the Single Judge of the High Court had rightly observed that writ petitioners must continue the service on their respective posts till regular selection were made. However, the observation with respect to the grant of salary in accordance with the UGC circular was not accepted by the Top Court.
It was affirmed by the Top Court that advertisements clearly stated that the honorarium of the lecturers was within the realm of the said Committee. The Bench also said, “It is a settled principle of law that an ad hoc employee cannot be replaced by another ad hoc employee and he can be replaced only by another candidate who is regularly appointed by following a regular procedure prescribed.”
Thus, the appeals were allowed partly, the impugned judgement of the Division Bench of the High Court was set aside and the order passed by the Single Judge of the High Court was upheld to the extent of resuming the services of the appellants till the appointment of the regular employees was finalized by the Committee.