Replacing a daily wage worker with another worker without any justification: An act vexed with arbitrariness and unreasonableness

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Sanjeev Kumar, J., allowed a writ petition filed by the petitioner seeking directions upon the respondent authorities to allow him to discharge his duties as sweeper in SBI Branch, Prem Nagar.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the respondents were justified in replacing petitioner from his post of sweeper without any justification.

The Court observed that the petitioner was performing his duties in the capacity of a sweeper since a very long time on daily wages; however, he never sought regularization to the said post. He was being replaced by the respondent authorities without any justification and he was not even given an opportunity of being heard. In case if petitioner was not performing his duties diligently, then the respondent authorities should have served a notice upon him and must have given him a reasonable opportunity to explain his situation, rather they have simply decided to replace him with another person and this act on the part of respondents is simply arbitrary.

The Court held that the petitioner being a part-time worker cannot be regularized to his current position but he cannot be arbitrarily removed from his position. Such an exercise of power on the part of respondents is contrary to Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and as such vexed with arbitrariness. Resultantly, the petition was allowed.[Mohd. Abdullah Bhat v. SBI,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 891, order dated 30-11-2018]

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