-Report by Utkarsh Kamal
In this case, The Supreme Court has reaffirmed that the State cannot be forced to create posts and hire qualified individuals without sanctioned positions. In this case, the Bench comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Bela M. Trivedi was deciding a case pertaining to the reinstatement and regularisation of members of the ‘Makkal Nala Paniyalargal’, or Village Level Workers were members of the Makkal Nala Paniyalargal (MNP) organizations who worked in Tamil Nadu.
A program offering jobs to educated youngsters in rural regions who had completed the 10th standard was started by the Tamil Nadu government in 1989. In the entire State, 25,234 MNPs (Makkal Nala Paniyalargal/Village Level Workers) were employed. The program was abandoned by the government in 1991. As a result, those hired through the program had their employment terminated. The scheme was reinstated in 1997 by government order, and it was abandoned once more in 2001. The government devised a plan in 2006 to transfer those who had been hired as Panchayat Assistants and part-time clerks to any scale as of September 1st, 2006. The Government announced in an order dated 2008 that it would take into account filling 50% of open positions in the cadre of record clerks, office assistants, night watchmen, and analogous posts from MNP. The government hired 600 MNPs to work as night watchmen and official assistants in local panchayats. The period of MNPs was extended by two years till May 31, 2012, subject to absorption. However, the Government disbanded MNPs in the interim on November 8, 2011. The Government order was contested before the Madras High Court, and the Single Judge permitted it. The decision made by the single judge was upheld by the Division Bench. In response to an appeal, the Supreme Court gave notice and suspended the High Court’s decision. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Jobs Guarantee Scheme is a program that the State Government started in 2022 to give jobs to educated unemployed youth. The majority of the 13,500 MNPs had enrolled in the program, while 489 MNPs had declined the chance.
The schedule of the Act included the State of Tamil Nadu. According to Section 3 of the Act, each State must implement a program that offers every household in rural areas covered by the Scheme, whose adult members agree to perform unskilled manual labour, at least 100 days of guaranteed employment in a fiscal year. The Court remarked that the 2005 Act’s provision of the benefit made by the State of Tamil Nadu’s plan remains in effect.
Whether the government can be compelled to create posts and absorb those in service in the absence of sanctioned posts?
The appeals court would be the least qualified to determine whether the government acted honestly in creating a post or refusing to create a post or whether its decision suffers from malice (legal or factual), according to the appellants, who argue that creation and abolition of posts rest with the government and is a matter of government policy, which can always be exercised in the interest and necessity of internal administration.Because these appointments were not made in accordance with the State Government’s formation against a cadre post, the service conditions of which are governed by the service regulations established in accordance with the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution. The current appointments are made solely to give educated youngsters in rural regions employment as MNPs in the implementation of various schemes at the village level for an honorarium that has periodically been updated.
A court must review every government decision to create or eliminate posts, especially if it goes against established service rules or constitutional clauses. The respondent may contend that the creation of positions purely to give educated children in rural areas work is not a proper use of public funds and may not be a valid government policy. The respondent may further argue that rather than being subject to arbitrary periodic modifications, the service conditions of such posts should be governed by established regulations.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was passed by the Central Government in 2005 to provide direct supplemental wage employment to rural citizens, the Supreme Court remarked. In a fiscal year, it guaranteed at least 100 days of paid employment. The schedule of the Act included Tamil Nadu as a state. According to Section 3 of the Act, each State must adopt a program that offers every household in rural areas covered by the program, whose adult members agree to perform unskilled manual labour, at least one hundred days of guaranteed work in a fiscal year. The Court determined that the 2005 Act-adopted benefit offered by the State of Tamil Nadu’s plan is still in effect. The court took note of the High Court’s ruling that employees who lost their jobs as a result of the government order disbanding the program in 2011 are not only entitled to reinstatement but also to be regularised in service after the post was created.
According to the Supreme Court, judges cannot command the creation of jobs. The MNPs were hired through a system and received honoraria rather than compensation for holding a cadre position.
After the scheme expired, the Divisional Bench ruled that MNPs were not eligible for reinstatement or regularisation of service. Hench overruled the judgment of the High Court.
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