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Contractual candidates can’t claim permanent status: CAT
11/30/2022 11:33:22 PM

Early Times Report

Jammu, Nov 30: Central Administrative Tribunal has held that temporarily engaged contractual candidates cannot claim permanent status on expiry of the term of contract.
This significant judgment was passed by Central Administrative Tribunal in a petition filed by more than 150 petitioners who were appointed with the respondents department as paramedical staff on academic arrangement basis under the J&K Medical & Dental Education (Appointment on Academic Arrangement Basis) Rules, 2009 under SRO 384/2009 dated 14.12.2009, for a period of one year extendable up to a maximum of four years, one year at a time, subsequently extended up to 06 years by SRO 409/2013 dated 19.9.2013, subject to their good performance and conduct or till selection or promotion is made according to the Recruitment Rules governing the field, whichever is earlier, for seeking their regularization. A bench comprising Anand Mathur (A) Member and DS Mahra of Central Administrative Tribunal Srinagar after hearing both the sides observed that the main contention of the applicants is that they are entitled for regularization of their services since they have been working in the respondents department from 2010 onwards.
The applicants were initially engaged for one year under the Jammu & Kashmir Medical & Dental Education (Appointment on Academic Arrangement Basis) Rules, 2009. As per Rule 4(i) the appointing authority will engage an individual on academic arrangement basis initially for a period of one year extendable up to maximum of 4 years (subsequently increased to 6 years) or till selection or promotion is made in accordance with the Recruitment Rules governing the respective posts, whichever is earlier. 1st proviso to Rule 4 further provides that appointment under these rules shall not entitle the applicant to claim for regularization in the service. The applicants had signed an agreement to this effect in Form A prescribed under the said Rules of 2009 which also provides that the appointment shall be purely on academic arrangement basis for one year period or till the post is filled up in accordance with rules of recruitment governing the posts, whichever is earlier.
Basically the claim of the applicants is that since they are working in the respondents department for a long period, therefore, they have a right to be regularized in the department by the respondents.
The CAT observed that the normal rule for regular appointment is through a prescribed agency under the State as per Recruitment Rules. It is for the State to ensure smooth functioning of the administration and due to certain exigencies; the administration may make academic, contractual, or similar temporary engagements. It is imperative for the State to replace such academic arrangements by way of regularly selected/appointed persons as early as possible. Maintaining equality of opportunity in public appointments is one of the fundamental rules of service jurisprudence. Unless appointments are made as per the recruitment rules through competition amongst the qualified candidates, the appointments will be contrary to the law. Temporarily engaged contractual candidates like the applicants cannot claim permanent status on expiry of the term of contract. Applicants are governed by the rules under which they are engaged. Merely because the said employee is working for a long period either by extending the period by the State or through the interim orders passed by the Courts, it will not confer any legal right upon the candidates so engaged for being made permanent. Even if a candidate has been working continuously under the interim order of the Court, he will not be entitled to any right to be absorbed or made permanent in service. If by an interim order or direction such a candidate is allowed to continue in his present capacity, it would not affect the right of the State to appoint eligible candidates through regular selection procedure.
While dismissing the application filed by the petitioners, CAT observed that it is clear that the Applicants are governed by the rules of 2009 which clearly state that the engagement of applicants was on academic arrangement basis for a period of one year extendable up to a maximum of six years or till selection is made in accordance with the recruitment rules. The applicants had also executed an agreement / contract with the respondents that they will not claim for regularization of their services. The respondents were well within their jurisdiction and competence to issue the advertisement notification 02 of 2021 dated 26.03.2021. (JNF)
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