HC disposes of petition of contract-based employee. Chandigarh – Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday disposed of an application filed on behalf of 53 erstwhile proofreader-cum-data entry operators, praying for issuance of appropriate directions to the Election Department of Punjab and its Chief Electoral Officer. The HC ruled that contract-based employees cannot be replaced by another set of contractual employees, not even by employing through out sourcing agency.The petitioners had pleaded for restraining the Election Department from engaging 117 data entry operators through in replacement of the applicants who were relieved of their duties on February 28 this year during pendency of their petition. They have sought regularisation of their services in the Election Department against 117 sanctioned posts of data entry operators.The Punjab and Haryana, High Court Bench of Justice Amit Rawal observed that in view of the judgment of Supreme Court in case of Hargurpratap Singh (2007), the respondents cannot replace contractual employees by engaging another set of contractual employees, through an outsourcing agency. The Bench had also observed while issuing notice of motion in their petition on July 3 that “the respondents shall be at liberty to engage the petitioners in case the work is available and their services are required. Therefore, if the respondents require the services of data entry operators, they would be required to engage the petitioners and not any other set of contractual employees.” The court further observed that in the instant application, the petitioners have only produced a copy of a letter sent by an outsourcing agency to another outsourcing agency requesting for supply of suitable candidates for recruitment of 117 data entry operators. It is not a communication from the department. What they have raised is merely an apprehension. In case they get hold of any document of the department, they would beat liberty to bring it to the notice of the High Court.
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