STATES

Orissa High Court orders regularisation of contractual data entry operators

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday allowed a batch of petitions filed by over 200 contractual data entry operators (DEOs), engaged on an outsourcing basis, seeking direction for regularisation of their services.

A single-judge bench of Justice BR Sarangi directed the State government to implement in the case of the petitioners the judgment delivered in the case of Jatin Das and others who were data entry operators and junior programmers engaged on outsourcing and annual contract basis directly by the Commercial Taxes department. The petitioners have been working in sub-registrar offices, local fund audit wing, State Secretariat and Gopabandhu Academy for over six to 12 years.  

Advocate Bhabani Shankar Tripathy, who argued on behalf of the petitioners, cited a State government resolution as per which contractual employees after completing six years shall be deemed to have been appointed on regular basis and a formal order of regular appointment shall be issued by the appointing authority. The resolution was issued by the General Administration department on September 17, 2013. Tripathy also cited the judgment issued by the High Court in the case of Jatin Das and others on May 10, 2018. 

Initially, the Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) had directed the State government to issue formal order of their regular appointment with all consequential service and financial benefits who had completed six years of service with effect from September 17, 2013.

The government had challenged the Tribunal’s directive in the High Court. A division bench upheld the OAT order and expressed surprise that after utilising the services of contractual employees for more than a decade, when the question of bringing them under regular establishment arose, they (employees) were pushed to a corner. “Government functionaries in a welfare state should refrain from adopting hire and fire policy. The action taken amounts to gambling with the career of the employees, some of whom might have become over-aged to compete for employment”, the bench had observed on May 10, 2018.

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