07 October 2020

Temporary appointment in a service can not be regularised as permanent service

In regard to the petitioner's prayer regarding regularization, reference must be made to the decision of the Apex Court in State of Karnataka vrs. Umadevi (2006) 4 SCC 1 and essentially the observation made in para 15, 16 and 53 which reads as follows:
"15. Even at the threshold, it is necessary to keep in mind the distinction between regularization and conferment of permanence in service jurisprudent. In State of Mysore v. S.V. Narayanappa [(1976) 1 SCR 128: AIR 1967 SC 1071] this Court stated that it was a misconception to consider that regularization meant permanence. In R.N. Nanjundappa v. T. Thimmiah [(1972) 1 SCC 409: (1972) 2 SCR 799] this Court dealt with an argument that regularization would mean conferring the quality of permanence on the appointment. This Court stated: (SCC pp. 416-17, para 26) 
"Counsel on behalf of the respondent contended that regularization would mean conferring the quality of permanence on the appointment whereas counsel on behalf of the State contended that regularization did not mean permanence but that it was a case of regularization of the rules under Article 309. Both the contentions are fallacious. If the appointment itself is in infraction of the rules or if it is in violation of the provisions of the Constitution illegality cannot be regularized. Ratification or regularization is possible of an act which is within the power and province of the authority but there has been some non-compliance with procedure or manner which does not go to the root of the appointment. Regularization cannot be said to be a mode of recruitment. To accede to such a proposition would be to introduce a new head of appointment in defiance of rules or it may have the effect of setting at naught the rules."

16. In B. N. Nagarajan v. State of Karnataka [(1979) 4 SCC 507: 1980 SCC (L&S) 4: (1979) 3 SCR 937] this Court clearly held that the words "regular" or "regularization" do not connote permanence and cannot be construed so as to convey an idea of the nature of tenure of appointments. They are terms calculated to condone any procedural irregularities and are meant to cure only such defects as are attributable to methodology followed in making the appointments. This Court emphasized that when rules framed under Article 309 of the Constitution are in force, no regularization is permissible in exercise of the executive powers of the Government under Article 162 of the Constitution in contravention of rules. These decisions and the principles recognized therein have not been dissented to by this Court and on principle, we see no reason not to accept the proposition as enunciated in the above decisions. We have, therefore, to keep this distinction in mind and proceed on the basis that only something that is irregular for want of compliance with one of the elements in the process of selection which does not go to the root of the process, can be regularized and that it alone can be regularized and granting permanence of employment is a totally different concept and cannot be equated with regularization.

53. One aspect needs to be clarified. There may be cases where irregular appointments (not illegal appointments) as explained in S.V. Narayanappa [(1967) 1 SCR 128: AIR 1967 SC 1071], R. N. Nanjundappa [(1972) 1 SCC 409: (1972) 2 SCR 799] and B.N. Nagarajan [(1979) 4 SCC 507: 1980 SCC (L&S) 4: (1979) 3 SCR 937] and referred to in para 15 above, of duly qualified persons in duly sanctioned vacant posts might have been made and the employees have continued to work for ten years or more but without the intervention of orders of the courts or of tribunals. The question of regularization of the services of such employees may have to be considered on merits in the light of the principles settled by this Court in the cases above referred to and in the light of this judgement. In that context, the Union of India, the State Governments and their instrumentalities should take steps to regularize as a one-time measure, the services of such irregularly appointed, who have worked for ten years or more in duly sanctioned posts but not under cover of orders of the courts or of tribunals and should further ensure that regular recruitments are undertaken to fill those vacant sanctioned posts that require to be filled up, in cases where temporary employees or daily wagers are being now employed. The process must be set in motion within six months from this date. We also clarify that regularization, if any already made, but not sub judice, need not be reopened based on this judgement, but there should be no further bypassing of the constitutional requirement and regularizing or making permanent, those not duly appointed as per the constitutional scheme"[Para No.19]


    In my considered opinion, the petitioners cannot rely upon the doctrine of legitimate expectation to seek regularization of employment. The petitioners from the very beginning of their contract were fully aware of the temporary nature of employment and that it would expire within stipulated period unless extended by the Government. The Hon'ble Apex Court in this regard has dealt with this principle in Umadevi (Supra) and held as follows:
Temporary appointment in a service can not be regularised as permanent service
"47. When a person enters a temporary employment or gets engagements as a contractual or casual worker and the engagement is not based on a proper selection as recognized by the relevant rules or procedure, he is aware of the consequences of the appointment being temporary, casual or contractual in nature. Such a person cannot invoke the theory of legitimate expectation for being confirmed in the post when an appointment to the post could be made only by following a proper procedure for selection and in concerned cases, in consultation with the Public Service Commission. Therefore, the theory of legitimate expectation cannot be successfully advanced by temporary, contractual or casual employees. It cannot also be held that the State has held out any promise while engaging these persons either to continue them where they are or to make them permanent. The State cannot constitutionally make such a promise. It is also obvious that the theory cannot be invoked to seek a positive relief of being made permanent of the post.

.........

49. It is contended that the State action in not regularizing the employees was not fair within the framework of the rule of law. The rule of law compels the State to make appointments as envisaged by the Constitution and in the manner we have indicated earlier. In most of these cases, no doubt, the employees had worked for some length of time but this has also been brought about by the pendency of proceedings in Tribunals and Courts initiated at the instance of the employees. Moreover, accepting an argument of this nature would mean that the State would be permitted to perpetuate an illegality in the matter of public employment and that would be a negation of the constitutional scheme adopted by us, the people of India. It is therefore not possible to accept the argument that there must be a direction to make permanent all the persons employed on daily wages. When the court is approached for relief by way of a writ, the court has necessarily to ask itself whether the person before it had any legal right to be enforced. Considered in the light of the very clear constitutional scheme, it cannot be said that the employees have been able to establish a legal right to be made permanent even though they have never been appointed in terms of the relevant rules or in adherence of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution."[Para No.20]

    The petitioners were appointed on temporary/adhoc basis as a stop-gap arrangement in view of the exigencies faced by the Government during that time. It is by now settled principle that temporary appointments have to be replaced with permanent employment of qualified persons made in accordance with the stipulated selection procedure. In earlier part of the judgment, I have observed that the State of Meghalaya held the MTET examination, however, the petitioners failed and thereafter, advertisement inviting applications of qualified candidates for appointment as teachers at Lower and Upper Primary levels at schools was already issued.

    In the light of the above discussion, I hold that none of the petitioners are entitled for regularization, therefore, their prayer for regularization stands rejected.[Para No.21]


High Court of Meghalaya

Probirth D. Marak
Vs .
State Of Meghalaya

Decided on 05/10/2020

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