In a breather for the Maharashtra Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT), in a series of orders, has dismissed applications filed against it by contract employees. The employees from the cybercrime and tape authentication wing of the FSL had filed an application, demanding that they be allowed to continue in service and their jobs regularised. The MAT, however, ruled in favour of the FSL that recently conducted an examination to hire new contractual employees.
Over 80 employees from the cyber wing had approached the MAT. According to senior FSL officials, they had hired nearly 328 employees for the cyber wing on contract a few years back to reduce pendency. “Those hired on a contract basis earlier were asked to discontinue. In March this year, we conducted online exams to ensure transparency in the hiring process. Several contractual employees who had been asked to discontinue also appeared for these exams,” a senior official claimed.
While arguing for 18 applicants in one case before MAT chairman Justice A H Joshi, the lawyer for the contractual employees argued that the exams conducted for the fresh round of hiring were not fair and that the question papers were repeated. The contractual employees “expressed grievance as regards the mode and manner in which the examination is conducted…”
The employees also argued that they had been duly selected for these posts and had worked for nearly two to three years. They further argued that they already had experience in dealing with cases of cyber crime and tape identification and would be more useful as compared to freshers who would have to learn everything anew.
The applicants primarily relied on the judgment of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court in the case of Sachin Dawle, in which lecturers were absorbed in a polytechnic college. The order observed that the petitioners in Dawle’s case were in service for more than 10 years, there were 5,000 vacancies of teaching staff in government polytechnic colleges while the advertisement issued by the government was for only 400 posts.
“Even if 400 posts were filled in, more than 4,500 will remain vacant,” the order read. The order went on to add, “by no permutation and combination applicants’ can be equated and held to be a match or stand on parity with that of the petitioners in Sachin Dawle’s case”.
The judge also observed that the current case cannot be held on parity with the case of lecturers in medical colleges, assistant engineers, Shikshan Sevaks or associate professors or dental surgeons in government dental colleges that the applicants sought to compare their case with.