The Supreme Court ruled that the continuity of service for a longer period on a contractual basis cannot be used to pass an order of regularization.
The Zila Parishad, Thane issued communication to the Block Development Officer, Panchayat Samiti requesting for immediate recruitment of ambulance drivers at primary health centres on contractual basis till the tender process for supplying/providing drivers on contract basis is completed.
Pursuant to the said communication, the Block Development Officer initiated the process. Vide office order, respondent original writ petitioner was appointed temporarily and on contract basis as a driver for a period of two months and an agreement was executed between respondent and Health Officer, Primary Health Centre agreeing with the terms and conditions of the employment.
One of the conditions was that the appointment of candidates is on the contract basis and is exclusively temporary in nature.
Advocate A. Karthik, appearing for the appellants, submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the case the High Court has seriously erred in directing to regularize services of respondent.
He contended that the High Court has not properly appreciated the fact that the initial appointment of respondent was on contractual basis and till the tender process for providing services of the driver is completed.
Senior Advocate V. Mohana, appearing for the respondent, submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the case and more particularly, when respondent was continued in service for more than ten years the High Court has not committed any error in ordering regularization of his services.
She submitted that before appointing the applications were invited by the District Health Officer, Zila Parishad, Thane and thereafter, respondent was appointed in the year 2010 and thereafter, his services have been continued from time to time by giving him artificial break which continued up to July, 2021
The division bench of Justice M. R. Shah and Justice M.M. Sundresh noted that when respondent was initially appointed in the year 2010, he was appointed on temporary contractual basis till the tender process to award the contract for availing the services of the driver is completed.
It was observed that merely because respondent continued in service for longer period on contractual basis the High Court ought not to have passed the order of regularization more particularly, when a policy decision was taken to avail the services of the driver by the agency/contractor and that the appointment of respondent and other similarly situated drivers was not made after any selection procedure.
It further observed that the appointment of respondent was purely on stopgap and on contractual basis.
The bench dismissed the writ petition.
Case title: Chief Executive Officer, Zila Parishad, Thane & Ors. v/s Santosh Tukaram Tiware & Ors.
Citation: Special leave petition (c) no. 3466 of 2022