The Delhi High Court has put on hold the termination of two employees of the Delhi government-run National Iodine Deficiency Disorder Control Programme (NIDDCP), observing they are employed in the “Health Mission” and that their “services would be required during the ongoing pandemic”.
In a relief to Vandana Sharma and Bharat Arya, the two different benches of the High Court ordered that the two shall not be terminated until the next date of hearing. Both the petitions will be heard next on August 13.
On Arya’s plea, Justice Prathiba M Singh issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government and said: “Considering the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that the petitioner (Arya) is employed in the Health Mission as a lab assistant, whose services would be required during the ongoing pandemic, it is directed that the services of the petitioner shall not be terminated till the next date”.
Taking note of the May 11 order passed in Arya’s favour, Justice Vibhu Bakhru had on Wednesday said, “In view of the above, this court considers it apposite to direct that the services of the petitioner (Sharma) shall not be terminated till the next date.”
Central government Standing Counsel Ajay Digpaul, appearing for the Union of India, reiterated the directive issued on March 18 and submitted that “considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, their services would be required and ought not to be terminated.”
According to the petition, Arya was engaged and employed as a laboratory assistant with the NIDDCP, which is under the Delhi State Health Mission. Sharma is a laboratory technician with the NIDDCP.
Advocate Rahul Shukla, appearing for Arya, apprised the court that he has been working in the said position since March 27, 2010.
“Though there is no doubt that the petitioner is a contractual employee, as per the Programme Implementation Plan (PIP), petitioner’s services were recommended to be continued,” it was argued.
Shukla further submitted that due to the lockdown, further extension has not been granted and an email has been received by Arya on March 31 that he need not attend office.
He submitted that as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare directive of March 18, 2020, the tenure of all employees, who are working in various health missions, have to be extended.
“Sharma’s contract expired on March 31, but has been recommended to be continued,” the counsel said, adding that Sharma’s employment has been extended from year to year and in all cases with retrospective effect.
The petitioner further submitted that Sharma’s name has been recommended for continuing his employment for the year 2020-21. Digpaul, appearing for the Union of India, confirmed the same.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines