17 June 2024


Supreme Court

Employers in Relation to the Management of Bhalgora Area of Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. vs. Workmen being represented by Janta Mazdoor Sangh




Fraudulent practice to gain public employment cannot be permitted by a Court of law

Present appeal has been preferred by the Management against the judgement whereby, the Division Bench of the High Court of Jharkhand had set aside the order passed by the learned Single Judge and restored the Award passed by the Central Government Industrial Tribunal No.1 whereby, the Workmen- Respondents were directed to be reinstated with 50% back wages.

In the present case, the Management’s consistent stand has been that it was a case of fraudulent appointment in connivance with the Dealing Assistant and Personnel Manager, who faced disciplinary action for facilitating wrongful appointment. It is also noteworthy that, the Appellant as a Government Undertaking, is under a statutory obligation under the 1959 Act, to make appointments only through the Employment Exchange. But this was not done in this case for the 38 litigating workmen. The names of the Respondent- Workmen, did not figure in either of the two lists relatable to the Employment Exchange. Moreover, the workmen, as can be seen, failed to discharge their burden and took the contradictory stand in a desperate attempt to convey legitimacy to their appointment.

Enough materials were presented to the Tribunal to justify the action against the illegally appointed workmen, and as such the appellants cannot be made to suffer the consequence of the misconduct of their two errant employees against whom, disciplinary actions were taken by the Management. Moreover, the contradictory stand of the workmen at different stage would suggest that they were conscious and aware of being appointed through a non-bonafide process. In any case, the appointments were contrary to the requirements of the 1959 Act.

In Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India & Ors. Vs. Jagdish Balram Bahira & Ors.,the Court has noted the responsibility of Courts to guard against fraudulent employment, especially when such appointment is obtained by perpetuating fraud upon the authorities. Public employment is a significant source of social mobility. Access to education opens the doors to secure futures. As a matter of principle, in the exercise of its constitutional jurisdiction, the court must weigh against an interpretation which will protect unjust claims over the just, fraud over legality and expediency over principle.

Fraudulent practice to gain public employment cannot be countenanced to be permitted by a Court of law. The workmen here, having hoodwinked the Government Undertaking in a fraudulent manner, must be prevented from enjoying the fruits of their ill- gotten advantage. The sanctity of public employment, as a measure of social welfare and a significant source of social mobility, must be protected against such fraudulent process which manipulates and corrupts the selection process. Employment schemes floated by the State for targeted groups, can absorb a finite number of workmen. To abuse the legitimate process therefore would mean deprivation of employment benefits to rightful beneficiaries. The Courts as sentinel of justice must strive to ensure that such employment programmes are not manipulated by deceitful middlemen, thereby setting up a parallel mechanism of Faustian Bargain. Often, desperate job aspirants’ resort to such measures to compete for limited vacancies, but this Court cannot condone false projections so as to circumvent the statutorily prescribed procedure for appointments. Such illegal practices must be interdicted by the Courts. The reversal of the well-reasoned order of the learned Single Judge is found to be unjustified. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Employment Direction Legality

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