The road to justice for three labourers, who were removed at a day’s notice in 2009, at Lady Hardinge hospital, was long and arduous. The Central Administrative Tribunal on February 21, 2019, set aside the order of their termination. The court also ordered the health ministry to reinstate the applicants and consider them for regularization, and determine their wages accordingly.
Ajit Singh, Pappal Kumar, and Amit, in mid-thirties all school dropouts, had joined as casual labourers, but after completion of the prescribe tenure in service were made temporary workers. The hospital authorities had removed three labourers as they participated in a strike called by permanent employees on February 23, 2009. The administration did not allow them to present their case and forced them out of employment. Their lack of education however did not stop them from fighting a diogged battle against the hospital authorities at various forums, including the Delhi High Court, against the sacking without notice. The Centre too turned a blind eye on its rule, wherein it is mandatory to serve a month’s notice regarding termination. The legal battle also had them conned by a lawyer, who complicated the legal proceedings for many years and kept them in dark regarding the developments on the case.
. he tribunal’s principle bench headed by Justice L Narasimha Reddy said, “The Scheme framed for conferment of temporary status and regularization of service provides for termination thereof by issuing a notice of not less than one month in advance. Such a notice was not issued in the instant case”.
In 2011, the applicants managed to issue a notice to hospital authorities, but the lawyer engaged discouraged them to pursue the case. The court took cognizance of this notice, as an official communication served to the hospital authorities challenging their removal. “We are of the view that the applicants deserve to be shown indulgence and the doors of the Tribunal cannot be shut for them simply because they were ill-advised by their counsel, whom they approached; once they were not getting any relief from the respondent (hospital authorities).”
Reinstating the employees, the court said, “However, failure to issue notice would certainly render the proceedings illegal….. The respondents shall reinstate the applicants into service within two months from today”.
–India Legal Bureau
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