‘Outsourcing system is a ruse and sham to avoid genuine service entitlements’

Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao of Telangana High Court directed the State government to consider regularisation of the services of 98 outsourced employees of the GHMC within two months.

Pronouncing verdict in a writ petition filed by them, the judge said the petitioners are entitled for minimum of time scale of pay attached to the posts in which they are presently working till GHMC considers their claim for regularisation of services.

The petitioners are working in different categories of posts like sanitary supervisor, sanitation workers, entomology field workers, entomology superior field workers, supervisors (EFA) and superior field assistants.

The GHMC should make the payments directly to the outsourced employees with effect from the day the writ petition is filed, after deducting the payments already made during this period to them. This system should be continued till their regularisation of services is considered.

The arrears up to this July 31 should be paid by this September 15, the order said.

Observing that the ‘outsourcing system’ adopted by the GHMC is only a ruse and sham to avoid genuine service entitlements to the petitioners, the judge said engaging employees through intermediaries/agencies/ contractors is violation of Articles 14, 16 and 21 of the Constitution.

It is also against the Supreme Court verdict in Uma Devi case mandating periodic recruitment to all sanctioned posts.

Lawyer Chikkudu Prabhakar contended that the petitioners had been working in different posts for over two decades.

They joined duties having attended interviews following a notification issued in a Telugu daily. Not regularising their services is violation of Supreme Court’s judgment in Secretary, State of Karnataka vs Uma Devi, ONGC vs Petroleum Coal Labour Union, Mr. Prabhakar said.

The GHMC said the petitioners were engaged by outsourcing agency and not directly by it. They are not recruited through an employment notification. No selection process was followed either. It was only a need based intake, the GHMC contended.

The judge noted that the GHMC is silent on the points like how many sanctioned posts of different categories were there, their scales of pay and how many of them were filled.

“This is a clear case of suppression of relevant facts by the GHMC,” the order said. The absolute silence of the GHMC is mystifying, the judge remarked.

The government could not cite any decision of the courts as to how employing the petitioners by ‘outsourcing’ them through an intermediate agency is constitutionally valid, the judgment said.

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