CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has deplored exploitation of work force and unfair labour practices by the State government in the case of data entry operators (DEOs) who have been working in different departments on contractual basis for years together.
The court felt that the State authorities have committed an illegality in not recruiting them by adopting a clear policy or following the valid selection procedure. Further, the government is taking advantage of the illegalities committed by it and using them to defeat the DEOs’ claim of job regularisation, the court observed.
The deprecation came on Wednesday while allowing a batch of petitions filed by DEOs engaged on an outsourcing basis in departments of Higher Education, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries besides, Planning and Coordination.
The single judge bench of Justice AK Mohapatra said that under the law, the government has the freedom to engage anyone on contractual basis against temporary or ad hoc work by entering into an agreement with an outsourcing agency or individual for a temporary period ranging between two and three years.
“Whereas, the petitioners have been working for different departments continuously for more than a decade”, the bench stated.
Justice Mohapatra said that the court finds that the petitioners are being exploited by the manpower service provider agencies in collusion with the officials of government departments.
“Although the DEOs since their appointment have been working diligently, the departments concerned have been engaging them continuously to perform a routine nature of work in the absence of any clear policy,” he said.
The court directed the State government to consider their cases within three months and regularise their services if they are entitled to get the benefits as has been given to the similarly situated employees.
Justice Mohapatra said that in a welfare state, the role of the State government as a model employer is to promote social justice and to ensure that the citizens are not exploited in any manner, particularly in the matter of employment.
“In the present case by using a subterfuge in the name of service provider, the State authorities have made an attempt to disown their legal obligation and Constitutional duty,” he said.