1. Ad-hoc Employee Granted Pension by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has directed the State Government of Gujarat to pay pensionary benefits to an ad-hoc employee who retired from his employment after 30 years of continuous service. It reprimanded the state government for stating that it is unreasonable to claim pension as the workman was employed on an ad-hoc basis for 30 years and therefore was not eligible for pension. The Supreme Court in its order noted that “as a welfare State, the State as such ought not to have taken such a stand.”

The State of Gujarat & Ors. vs. Talsibhai Dhanjibhai Patel [Supreme Court of India, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 1109/2022 dated 18.02.2022]

2. ‘Any termination referring to case against employee and no inquiry is stigmatic’

In a petition challenging the termination order of the petitioner in this case, the High Court of Gujarat has stated that if the termination order refers to an FIR or a case filed against an employee, without conducting full departmental inquiry, then the said termination order is considered to be stigmatic. The High Court then quashed the termination order.

The petitioner was employed as ‘taluka livelihood manager’ on contractual basis with the Gujarat Livelihood Promotion Company Ltd., from the year 2011, until he was terminated in 2018 on allegations of financial irregularities. The employer claimed that since he was employed on contractual basis, his employment can be terminated without having to follow principles of natural justice!

The High Court directed the employer to reinstate the petitioner into service to his original post with continuity of service, salary and wages for the interregnum as if the termination order was not passed. However, the High Court also stated that the employer could initiate appropriate departmental proceedings or an inquiry against the employee before terminating him from service.

Minakshiben Laxmanbhai Paraliya vs. State Of Gujarat [High Court of Gujarat, Special Civil Application No. 22681 Of 2019, dated 08.02.2022]

3. Out-of Court Settlements May be Accepted by Courts, holds Delhi High Court

A worker had entered into an agreement with his employer in regard to conditions relating to his reinstatement, which included withdrawal of disputes pertaining to non-payment of bonus and contractual employment. However, the terms of settlement were breached by the employer and another conciliation proceeding was initiated resulting in the conciliation officer directing payment of a certain amount. This order came to be challenged by the employer before the High Court of Delhi. During the course of appeal filed by the employer after making deposit of actual wages before the court, the worker and the employer reached a settlement. The employer sought a refund of the deposited amount from the court, at which the appellate court stated that the pre-deposited amount cannot be refunded as the worker had not confirmed the settlement and that the employer had to obtain a no-objection certificate from the worker.

Hence, the question arose as to whether the appellate court would have to consider whether the settlement was reached or not. The High Court, if satisfied that the settlement has been arrived at and that there were no allegations of forgery or fabrication. Therefore, as per Section 18(1) of the Industrial Disputes Act, which recognises out-of-court settlements, should have been accepted by the Court.

M/s Wearwell (India) Pvt. Ltd. vs. Mohd. Nizam [Citation: 2022 Livelaw (Del) 95]

4. Reservation in Teaching Jobs for Trans-persons

The Karnataka Government has decided that in future, 1% of the jobs in the teaching sector will be reserved for members of the transgender community. In the upcoming recruitment process for 15,000 teachers to various government schools across the State, about 150 posts will be reserved for the persons belonging to the transgender community. The Karnataka Civil Service (General Recruitment) Rules, 1977 was amended following a petition before the Karnataka High Court.

However, the eligibility criteria is that the candidates must be graduates in any subject, must possess a B.Ed degree and must have cleared the Teacher Eligibility Test. This renders many people from the trans community ineligible and thus cannot avail the reservation. The Department has stated that if there are not many applicants for the reservation, then the posts will be automatically converted to other categories.

5. Workers Constructing Flyover in Bengaluru Not Paid Wages for 7 months

AICCTU has filed a complaint with the Labour Department in regard to the non-payment of wages for several months to the workers employed in the construction of a flyover in Bengaluru. The workers were employed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike through Simplex Infrastructures Ltd. There have been several complaints in regard to the delay in the completion of the project and the BBMP has been rapped on the knuckles for such inordinate delay. Due to this, the BBMP cancelled the contract with Simplex Infrastructure, thus rendering the workers anxious. After the complaint by AICCTU, the workers have received all their due payments.

6. Teachers Denied 32-month arrears of salaries in Bihar

Five teachers in the Khagaria Collectorate of Bihar have been in protest since February 2022 as the government has refused to pay them salaries for about 32 months on account of irregularities in due process of their appointment.

Initially, the Education Department of Government of Bihar had cancelled the appointment of 11 teachers for the reason that prescribed appointment process was not followed. Of the 11 teachers, five teachers were reinstated and given fresh appointment orders. As per the same, they were paid salaries till October 2017. However, they have not been paid for the period between November 2017 to June 2019, and thereafter, their arrears were paid. However, to their dismay, the appellate authority passed an order that those teachers appointed on the basis of selection in 2006 would no longer receive a salary. The same was brought to the attention of the Patna High Court, which then passed directions to the department asking them to conduct an inquiry into the appointments and whether due process was followed, and accordingly make payment of arrears of wages. Accordingly, an inquiry was conducted by the Education Department which found that no malpractice was done in their appointment, and therefore cleared the dues.

However, despite the same and without any reason, the Education Department, again issued fresh appointment letters to the five teachers in February, 2022, and has been adamant on not paying arrears for 32 months, i.e., between July 2019 and January 2022, to the teachers even though all of them continued to work without any service break.

7. Only 8 Healthcare Workers Received COVID Death Compensation in Delhi

In Delhi, it has been reported that about 177 healthcare workers died due to COVID – 19. The Delhi Government had assured a compensation amount of one crore rupees to the kin of healthcare workers, including doctors, teachers and sanitation workers. However, the government has paid the compensation amount to only 8 workers. While the state government had stated that they have given compensation to about 17 workers, the same was found to be untrue vide an RTI, which stated that out of the 40 applications received for compensation, only 8 families had received the amount. Whereas about 56 doctors, 13 nurses, 16 paramedical staff and 92 safai karamcharis had died after contracting COVID-19 while on duty.

8. Devadasis Protest for Rehabilitation in Karnataka

During the budget session of the Karnataka Government, thousands of devadasis gathered in Bangalore demanding the fulfilment of promises made by subsequent governments in rehabilitating the women who are exploited in the name of culture. An association of these women have been waging relentless struggle since 2006 for their betterment and their rights. Some of the demands of the devadasi women included – Raise of monthly pension to Rs. 3000, immediate rehabilitation of devadasi women and their children with financial assistance, education facilities for children of devadasis, debt relief and assistance with agrarian activities, unemployment allowances, among other such demands.

9. Daily Wage of Tea Estate Workers Increased in Tripura

Over 7,000 families in Tripura will benefit from the increase in their daily wages from Rs. 105 to Rs. 136, which will come into effect from April 2022, which is an increase by Rs. 31. News reports state that there are over 54 tea estates that are run privately. About Rs. 85 crores has been allocated towards the welfare of tea estate workers which is expected to be utilised towards education, basic amenities like healthcare, roads, toilets, provision of purified drinking water, health insurance, among other measures.