Contractual employment is not entitled to continuation: High Court
Contractual employment is not entitled to continuation: High Court

Srinagar, Dec. 13: The J&K and Ladakh High Court ruled that, once agreed upon by both parties without reservation, contractual employment has no inherent right to continue and that the courts cannot order an employer to do so or to alter the terms of the employment in any way.

In rejecting 116 applicants’ appeal asking the court to step in and grant them permission to finish three years of service in order to manage two temporary COVID hospitals with 500 beds each in Jammu and Srinagar, a bench of Justice M. A. Chowdhary said as much.
“After the government decided to close the temporary hospitals where the petitioners were employed under contract due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, this court is of the considered opinion that the respondents (authorities) cannot be asked to continue their services as contractual employees without any work or their need,” the court stated. In light of the government ruling of May 18, 2021, “in this view of the matter, the petition to the extent of asking for relief to continue the petitioners for three years cannot be granted.”


The petitioners argued that they were appointed to tenure-based positions as physicians, anesthetists, pediatricians, medical officers, nurses, paramedical staff, and technical staff on a contract basis for a period of one year in accordance with a government order dated May 18, 2021, which established two temporary Covid hospitals with 500 beds, one in Srinagar and one in Jammu.

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In compliance with the directive, 1366 positions were established, with 683 positions for each hospital, to enable the functioning of these two institutions in association with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Ministry of Defense, and Government of India.

According to their individual engagement orders, the petitioners said, it is how they were engaged. They stated that when their contractual engagement ended in 2022, they were granted an extension of their employment period until December 31, 2022, as per a communication dated August 8, 2022, which was sent by the J&K government’s Health and Medical Education Department to the Principal Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, with the approval of the Administrative Department. The staff was essentially employed by the 500-bed Covid Hospital at Khunmoh, Srinagar.

In accordance with Notification No. 01-HME of 2019 dated January 19, 2019, the petitioners had further asked the court to order the disbursement of Ayushman and Covid incentives in their favor.

Regarding the other reliefs, the court ordered the respondents to disburse Ayushman and Covid incentives in accordance with Notification No. 01-HME of 2019 dated January 19, 2019, in favor of the petitioners.

In addition, the petitioners asked for permission to include the clause requiring “5 numbers” to be given weight in future advertisement notices, as was done in earlier notices. In those earlier notices, candidates hired on a contract basis for three months under the Emergency COVID Response Programme (ECRP) received this weight.

The court said that the authorities could think about including the requirement in the notice of future advertising.



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