Shimla: While dismissing a petition filed against the state government’s decision to terminate all extensions or re-employments accorded by the previous government, Himachal Pradesh High Court ruled “it’s in the larger public interest that the services of the re-employed need to be dispensed with as the retired employees do not have any right of re-employment.”

The order was passed by a Division Bench, comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Virender Singh, on a petition filed by Om Prakash Sharma.

According to the petitioner, he retired from the post of Tehsildar on March 31, 2021. He said that the State had formulated a policy for re-engaging retired employees for a further period of one year on a contract basis so that the experience of such employees could be utilized meaningfully.

The post of Tehsildar (Bank Recovery) was lying vacant with H.P. State Co-operative Bank. After approval of the Board of Directors, the petitioner was assigned the post of Tehsildar (Bank Recovery) on April 6, 2022, purely on a contract basis for a period of one year, on a fixed salary and he joined the duty on April 13, 2022

However, in view of the recent change of guard, the State Government issued a notification on December 12, according to which all extensions or re-employments accorded and operative were ordered to be terminated forthwith except for Government medical colleges.

As a fallout and direct outcome of this letter, the services of the petitioner were terminated.

Aggrieved by the action of the State Government, the petitioner filed a petition to quash and set aside the order of the State Government.

The Counsel for the petitioner argued that the services of the petitioner could not have been terminated without following basic principles of natural justice and fair play and the action of the respondents is in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of India, more particularly, Articles 14 and 16 thereof.

After hearing counsel for the petitioner and going through the record, the Court found that nothing prevents the respondents to review their policy.

The Court observed that it is more than settled that policy can be reviewed by the competent authority from time to time. “The Court can interfere with the change in policy only after being satisfied that the same is irrational or perverse,” said the court.

The Court noticed that the petitioner was not re-employed after giving wide publicity that too by inviting the best talents. The Court found a justifiable reason to withdraw the earlier decision to grant re-employment.

The Court also didn’t find the decision taken by the respondents as unreasonable or arbitrary and found no merit in the petition after which the Court dismissed the petition.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.