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Technical staff on contract in commissions, consumer forums move Supreme Court, demanding permanent status

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A group of Technical Support Staff of Consumer Forums and Commissions across the country have filed a petition in the Supreme Court, demanding to be absorbed as permanent staff, as per the guidelines laid down in the National Policy and Action Plan document Phase-1 of the e-Courts Project.

The petition has been filed by a group of 234 persons through Advocate-On-Record Om Prakash Parihar, who are employed as “Technical Support Staff,” alleging “step-motherly” treatment, as compared to the staff working with the other judicial forums/commissions such as High Court, District Court, NCLT, NCDRC, Human Rights Commission and NCW.

They challenged the procedure for appointment in the Consumer Commission and mentioned that all over India, most of the High Courts and District Courts have absorbed their existing technical staff as per the guidelines of the National Policy and action plan documents, but when it comes to technical staff of various Consumer Forums/Commissions, they are at first instance hired through third party contractor under the contract year to year basis which is subject to renewal depending upon whims and fancies of respective contractor and hence, their employment tenure and perks (if any) solely depends upon the contractor.

Therefore, they are desirous of being treated equally at par to technical support staff, hired and employed by various High Courts And District Courts and hence filed the present petition to fixed their tenure and fixed compensation for all the technical support staff of various consumers’ court and frame the guidelines accordingly.

The plea further stated, “there should be a sole discretion of the President of the District Consumer Commissions and State Commissions to appoint all the staff in that Commission after consultation with the State Commission or National Commission and the interference of the State Government and the Vendors should be stopped in functioning of the Consumer Commission and directs appointments should be made by the Commission itself.”

“As per the High Court rules, the appointment of staff in the District Court is on the basis of sole discretion of the District Judge and due to which District Courts all over India never face any issue with respect to the shortage of staff due to pending approval from the Governments. Even various other Tribunals, Commissions and other Judicial Bodies are having appointment of technical staff on the basis of the sole discretion of the presiding Judge of that particular court/tribunals and Commissions,” it added.

The plea averred, “the Consumer Forums/Commissions which are not empowered to appoint its own staff, have been giving step-motherly treatment when it comes to appointment of its staff as compared to other treatment who are empowered to appoint their staff.”

“The Technical Support Staff of Consumer Forums/Commissions should not be appointed through outsourcing agency as their appointment, tenure and compensation will be solely depended on the whims & fancy of these agency,” it said.

Also Read: Supreme Court issues notice to Telangana govt on petition challenging police’s preventive detention of accused released on bail

The plea has sought the following directions to be issued;

1- to direct the respondents to make national policy of E-Committee of this Hon’ble Court applicable to the Consumer Commissions;

2- Guidelines should be framed by this Hon’ble Court for the purpose of the appointment of staff in the Consumer Commissions and the interference of the Government should be reduced in the appointment of the staff in consumer commissions; and

3- to direct the respondents to absorb their existing technical staffs/petitioners as per the guidelines laid down in the National Policy and Action Plan document Phase-1 of the e-Courts Project.

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