Press Release: Regularization of contract employees.
11th August, 2016
The unfettered right of the state government to make illegal appointments and the Cabinet to regularize it have been taken away with. On 5th August 2016, the Hon’ble Guwahati High Court, Kohima Bench, gave legal sanctity to the Office Memorandum (OM) passed by the State Cabinet and notified on 6/6/16 by the Government of Nagaland. The OM 2016 is a partial modification of OM 2001 which says "in modification of OM dated 26.2.2001, it has been decided that no appointment shall be made on contract basis, henceforth". Thus, the Hon’ble HC judgment is very clear that all forms of backdoor appointments have to be stopped and stopped, henceforth. The Court’s Order is to be understood in relation to OM 2016, OM 2001, Dr. Atouzo Vs State of Nagaland, and Umadevi case. Again, both the OM 2016 and the Undertaking Affidavit submitted by the Chief Secretary to the Hon’ble High Court quotes extensively from Umadevi case, and Dr. Atouzo Vs state of Nagaland.
Thus, not only are contract appointments banned, but by inserting Dr. Atouzo Vs State of Nagaland in the OM 2016, the State Cabinet has on its own volition notified that it has no power to Regularize Contract/adhoc appointments as per the verdict of the Hon’ble High Court, Kohima bench, when the court struck down the regularization of 19 Veterinary Assistant Surgeons (VAS), all illegally, by the Cabinet. Significantly, the OM of 2016overrides the OM of 2008 as well having the very controversial clause that says "Contract employees may be regularized by the department’s who have completed more than 3 years of service"(sic) on the basis of which successive State governments made tens of thousands of backdoor appointments. On the whole, it follows that thousands of contract employees already appointed by the government in the years prior to the issuance of OM 2016 cannot be regularized by the Cabinet/P&AR Department; and for the fact that the OM 2001 mentions that "no contract appointment can be more than 1 year", it again follows that there is no option but for the Government to clean the mess it has created and allow the thousands of contract appointments to lapse with immediate effect. Thus, none of the contract appointments should be extendable beyond the permissible 1 year period and the departments should allow these to lapses, failing which contempt of court may be invited. If necessary, such lapsed posts may be advertised and examination held in a free and fair manner as per the rules laid down in Uma devi Case as inserted in OM 2016.
Also, since all contract appointments have been banned, no posts coming under the purview of NPSC, including both gazette and non-gazette posts can be filled up through backdoor by the departments as was the case in the past. Again, all instances of backdoor appointments post-OM 2016 may be reviewed by the departments and terminated with immediate effect.
The Hon’ble Court has given liberty to the Petitioner-ACAUT- to approach the Court if the government violates and refuses to implement the clause as laid down in OM dated 06/06/2016.
The bottom-line is that, apart from the contract appointments being banned henceforth, it is absolutely critical that the government stop the yearly but illegal extension of contract appointments with immediate effect based on the landmark judgment of the Hon’ble High Court and that none of the contract appointments is extended beyond the permissible period. This feeing up of the thousands of lapsed post can be filled up by genuine and deserving candidates from the unemployed youth community through competitive examination. The ACAUT Nagaland cautions all HODs that it will cross check all the departments for compliance and if necessary will take recourse to legal action till it encounters satisfactory results.
Media Cell, ACAUT Nagaland.