A. SURJAMUKHI DEVI Vs. STATE OF MANIPUR
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
A. Surjamukhi Devi
STATE OF MANIPUR
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KH.NOBIN SINGH -
(1.) Heard Shri S. Samarjeet, learned Advocate appearing for the petitioner and Shri Th. Vashum, learned Government Advocate appearing for the respondents.
(2.) By the instant writ petition, the petitioner has prayed for issuing a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate writ to quash and set aside the letters dated 15-01-2016 and dated 10-10-2019 issued by the Director of Commerce and Industries, Government of Manipur and the Director of Handloom and Textiles, Manipur rejecting the regularization of the officiating service of the petitioner as the Data Compiler-cum-Registration Assistant and also to issue an order similar to that of the order dated 19- 01-2018 passed by this Court in WP(C) No.78 of 2016 directing the respondents to regularize the officiating appointing of the petitioner for the period from 18-12-1987 till February, 2015 for grant of pensionary benefits.
3.1 The petitioner was initially appointed as the Data Compiler cum Registration Assistant on casual basis in the year 1980 vide Government order dated 01-09-1980 and was posted at the Head Office of the Department at Lamphel. The service of the petitioner was absorbed on officiating capacity to the said post on 18-12-1987. As per the recruitment rules, a person with graduate having the knowledge of weaving experience is eligible for appointment to the said post. The petitioner along with others, in the capacity of an association, filed a writ petition being CR No.55 of 1991 claiming for regular appointment which was disposed of on 28-09-1984 directing that as and when regular vacancy would arise, the petitioners therein should be accommodated and their services should not be disturbed. In the meantime, some persons who were working on ad-hoc/ officiating basis had been given regular appointment as per the scheme/ policy of regularization dated 09-10-1992.
3.2 Having treated the petitioner by the State Government as a full-fledged Government employee except the use of the word 'officiating', she was provided with the Manipur Government Employee List (MGEL) number as 028792 with service book being maintained for her as is evident from the GPF statement sheet dated 05-08-2012.
3.3 Some persons approached the High Court by way of a writ petition being WP(C) No.317 of 2012 for counting their officiating services and for grant of pensionary benefits which was disposed of on 18-02-2013 with the direction that their officiating services be counted for all purposes and accordingly, the Government issued an order dated 06-06-2013 thereby counting the services of the petitioners therein for pensionary benefits.
3.4 The fact that the petitioner was provided with MGEL number is quite evident from the certified information as on 08-01-2015 available in the Personnel Information System maintained by the State Government. On 08-01-2015 itself, the petitioner along with two others submitted an application to the authority for taking up necessary action for allowing them to enjoy pensionary benefits, as the petitioner was to retire on attaining the age of superannuation in the next month. After about a year, the Director of Commerce and Industries, Government of Manipur appears to have issued the letter dated 15-01-2016 stating that the Department of Personnel, Government of Manipur did not agree to the proposal as there was no clear-cut policy/ rule for regularization of officiating officials and that it might lead to similar demands for other persons who were appointed on ad-hoc basis. The existence of the letter dated 15-01-2016 was not known to the petitioner till she got RTI reply dated 06-07-2018 from the Director of Trade, Commerce and Industries, Government of Manipur in response to her application dated 17-05-2018.
3.5 In the meantime, the petitioner came to know that other two applicants-Smt. K.Swarnalata Devi and Smt. A. Kiranbala Devi filed a writ petition being WP(C) No.78 of 2016 which was disposed of by this Court on 19-01-2018 directing the respondents to consider their cases within three months from the date of receipt of a copy of the order by issuing a speaking order. In compliance with the said order, the Deputy Secretary to the State Government vide its letter dated 24-05-2019 conveyed the approval of the State Government to provide pensionary benefits as per CCS rules with effect from 18-12-1987. Immediately thereafter, the Director of Handlooms and Textiles, Manipur issued an order dated 31-05- 2019 regularising their officiating appointment retrospectively from 18-12- 1987. Smt. K.Swarnalata Devi retired on 31-03-2016.
3.6 According to the petitioner, she was similarly situated with Smt. K.Swarnalata Devi and therefore, her case is covered by the order dated 19-01-2019 passed by this Court. Therefore, after knowing the existence of the order dated 31-05-2019, she submitted a representation dated 28- 08-2019 to the respondents for reconsideration of her case. But the respondents vide their letter dated 10-10-2019 informed the petitioner that the regularization of her officiating appointment could not be considered as informed vide letter dated 15-01-2015. Being aggrieved by the inaction on the part of the respondents, the instant writ petition has been filed on the inter-alia grounds that the inaction of the respondents is unfair and unreasonable being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. ;
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