BENGALURU: Railway employees can no longer retire early and bequeath their jobs to their nominees.
The hereditary employment scheme, which has provided jobs to thousands, has been deemed illegal, and quashed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
A CAT principal bench, headed by Dr K B Suresh and Sudhira Kumar, passed the order, stating, “these schemes and all other corollary schemes akin to this... are hereby quashed.”
Suresh is a judge at the Bengaluru CAT, and had helmed the bench in Delhi. The tribunal has also ordered issue of show-cause notices to beneficiaries of the schemes.
The schemes provided a back-door entry to children of railway employees. A large number of employees would take voluntary retirement just before their tenure ended, and recommend family members for their jobs.
The bench has issued a mandate to the Railway Board to hear the beneficiaries and take an appropriate order within six months so that only the ‘rightuful’ get employment.
The issue came to light after Jagpal Singh, a pointsman of the Northern Railways, sought voluntary retirement and applied for preferential appointment to his son Amit Kumar.
Amit Kumar was called for a written exam, which he passed, but his name did not appear on the list of selected candidates since his father had served less than 20 years.
Jagpal Singh said he had nominated his son under LARGESS, acronym for a scheme, and filed a case with the CAT.
The Railway Board had modified The Safety Related Retirement Scheme (the erstwhile SRRC, in vogue since British times) as the Liberalized Active Retirement Scheme for Guaranteed Employment for Safety Staff (LARGESS).
The scheme covered drivers and gangmen, but shunting porters and shunting drivers were not allowed to participate as their jobs did not involve the same kind of strenuous activity.
Later, scheme was enlarged to include other jobs, and bring down 33 years of required service to 20.
The requirement was scaled down on the grounds that work stress grants warranted a special status. The CAT has noted that the administration often crumbles as if it is powerless when unions exert pressure. The bench observed, “The railways do not have the power to create oppurtunities for back door entry without significant reasons present... as it is against public interest without redeeming features.”
Even compassionate appointments are limited to 5 per cent of the direct recruitment quota. A huge number of recruitments are done under the illegal schemes, a source said.
Speaking to Express, a member of the Railway Union said, “In each division about 200 are recruited under this scheme in a year. But there are several conditions that the applicants have to satisfy.”
In the order, the CAT has observed that such schemes cause harm to public interest and are a result of pressure from the unions.