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Unfair to remove contractual employee without giving him an audience: Allahabad High Court

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The Allahabad High Court has said that it is unfair to remove a contractual employee from the post or terminate his contract, without giving him an opportunity of being heard.

A Single Bench of Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra passed this order on Monday, while hearing a petition filed by Munni Poonam, engaged as Warden in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya at Belhari in District Ballia of Uttar Pradesh in 2011.

The petitioner said the initial appointment for one year was extended for almost 10 years. However in 2020, the petitioner’s work was not found satisfactory and therefore by the order dated January 2, 2021, the petitioner’s extension in the Academic Sessions 2020-2021 was discontinued.

The order was assailed on the ground that no opportunity of hearing has been given and that the petitioner’s work otherwise was satisfactory throughout.

Sanjay Chaturvedi, who has obtained instructions in the matter, stated that the petitioner’s work has not been found satisfactory. It was, however, admitted that neither the petitioner has furnished a report of the Committee, nor has been heard in the matter.

It is not in issue that the petitioner has worked for nearly 10 years. In the event the respondents found that there was some adverse report with regard to the petitioner’s working in the institution, she ought to have been confronted with such material and only after an opportunity in that regard, a decision could have been taken whether or not to continue the petitioner’s contractual engagement.

As this course has not been adopted, the order cannot be sustained, the Court said.

Also Read: Madras High Court refuses to resume physical hearings in near future

“However, in the facts of the case, it is provided that the petitioner shall represent her grievance before respondents, along with a copy of this order, within two weeks from today. The respondents shall furnish reports of the District Committee to the Petitioner, within two weeks, thereafter. The Petitioner will have an opportunity to submit her explanation/comments, within a further period of two weeks, thereafter.

The matter shall be placed before the District Committee, along with the comments/explanation of the petitioner and an appropriate decision would be taken in the matter relating to the petitioner’s contractual engagement while passing a fresh order, within a further period of two months thereafter.

“The order in the Writ Petition shall abide by the fresh orders to be passed by the authority concerned, as indicated above,” the Court ordered and disposed of the plea.

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