‘Employee’ includes those appointed on contract basis as well, even if they are being paid by the contractor

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The High Court in a recent case before it granted the writ of mandamus sought by the petitioner by directing respondents Bijli Nigam to continue him in service under S. 47 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. The petitioner was the lineman appointed on contract basis and was electrocuted while repairing common pole cable of transformer of a village resulting to permanent disability.

The advocate for the petitioner for the same placed his reliance on judgment by Division Bench of Rajasthan High Court in Secretary, (Admn.), JVVNL, Jodhpur v. Ashok Kumar, 2014 SCC OnLine Raj 3599 pleading that the public authorities especially those who are ‘State’ within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution, are bound to be fair and reasonable and the petitioner cannot be left to fend for himself by the respondent Nigam, after becoming permanently disabled. In the referred case, the Division Bench took into consideration the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, to hold that the workman means any person employed by any industry by the employer on regular or contract basis, with such employer.

In response to the argument of the petitioner, the respondent replied that the petitioner was never their employee, but was employed through a service provider and also did not admit on the fact of electrocution on the ground that the electricity supply had been shut-down from 7.30 hr to 12.10 hr. The respondents also averred that even it was the service provider who was paying petitioner the salary.

G.S. Sandhawalia, J. after hearing both the parties referred to the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd. Employees (Conduct) Regulations, 2006, to point out that an employee means a member of any of the Nigam services and includes any person in the employment of the Nigam on contract basis. Keeping in mind the Regulations of 2006 as well as the ruling of Division Bench of Rajasthan High Court, the Court directed the respondents to continue him in service on the same terms and conditions as he was employed with the contractor and also pay him the same amount as much the contractor was paying him. Accordingly, the petition was allowed. [Gulab Singh v. State of Haryana, 2017 SCC OnLine P&H 1662, decided on 18.07.2017]

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