TODAY -

HC suspends order absorbing 25 officers to MES
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, January 23 2023: The High Court of Manipur has suspended the order of Education Department issued by additional secretary (education s) dated December 19,2022 for absorbing 13 programme officers (RTE) and 12 assistant programme officers (RTE) to Manipur Education Services (MES) Grade II and MES Grade-Ill respectively.

In a petition filed against the absorption, Manipur Government Services Federation (MGSF) submitted that the Manipur Education Service (MES) is governed by the rules called the Manipur Education Service Rules, 2012.Under Rule 5(a) of the Rules, it is provided that 50 per cent of the total number of posts of Grade-III level of MES are to be appointed through direct recruitment and the remaining 50 per cent through limited departmental examination from amongst the employees who hold substantively any of the post given in Schedule-II, with necessary educational and other qualifications and also with not less than 10 years of regular service in the state government.

Under Rule 5(b), it is provided that 50 per cent of the Grade-II posts shall be filled up through promotion and the remaining 50 per cent through limited departmental examination from amongst the employees under the same criteria mentioned in the rule for MES Grade-Ill.

According to the petitioner, the service of the private respondents was regularised/ absorbed by an order dated 16-12-2016 issued by the commissioner (Education-S), and that they have not rendered ten years of regular service as on the date of filing the petition.

The senior counsel for the petitioner argued that there is no provision under the MES Services Rules, 2012 for recruitment by way of absorption and that the private respondents did not possess the eligibility criteria with regard to the educational qualification and qualifying service as provided under the MES Rules, 2012.It has also been submitted that as per the state cabinet decision, their absorption is to be carried out as a one- time relaxation of the rules, however, the absorption of the private respondents have been carried out in a most arbitrary and illegal manner without amending the service rules.

The counsel accordingly submitted that the absorption of the private respondents in the cadre strength of MES Grade-II and Grade-III is ultra vires the service rules as well as the state cabinet decision and accord ingly, their absorption under the impugned order is not sustainable in the eyes of law.

The senior counsel, accordingly, prayed for passing an interim order for suspending the impugned order.

In response, the counsels of the respondents submitted that the absorption was carried out without affecting the existing cadre strength and the order does not affect the rights and interests of any of the petitioners, while add ing that there is no requirement for passing any interim order.

After hearing the submission from both the sides and on careful examination of the materials available on record, the court of Justice Ahanthem Bimol observed that the absorption of the private respondents is totally in violation of the relevant service rules and also ultra vires the state cabinet decision taken on 04-01-2022, in as much as, such absorption is to be carried out as a one-time measure after relaxing the relevant provisions of the service rules.

In the present case, the state government has not relaxed or amended any of the service rules for absorbing the private respondents in the cadre of MES Grade-II and Grade-III .

The court observed that if an interim order is passed suspending the impugned order, the private respondents will not be greatly affected since they will continue as a regular employee of the state government.

"Since the petitioners have been able to make out a prima facie case for passing an interim order and since this court is of the tentative view that the impugned order had been issued in total violation of the relevant provisions of the MES Rules, 2012, it is hereby ordered that the operation of the impugned order dated 19-12-2022 shall remain suspended till the next date," the court ruled.

It also directed the respondents to file their counter affidavit and liberty is also granted to them for modification or vacation of this interim order, if so advised.

The case has been listed for the next hearing on February 22 .


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