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Karnataka HC relief for elderly woman who served government for 25 years

A 72-year-old woman, who served the State government on a temporary basis for 25 years, has got relief from the High Court of Karnataka 14 years after she retired from service on attaining the age of superannuation.

The court has directed the State government to regularise the services of G.P. Sarojamma, a native of Lingsugur taluk in Raichur district, with retrospective effect from 1992 and to pay her all the retirement benefits, including pension. The court, however, said that the government cannot now be mulcted with payment of back wages.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order while allowing a petition filed in 2011 by Ms. Sarojamma seeking directions to regularise her service and pay her all the retirement benefits.

She was initially appointed to the Taluk Development Board, Sindhanur, in 1982 and subsequently deputed to the taluk panchayat and later to the Social Welfare Department. She retired on attaining the age of 58, the then age of superannuation, on January 1, 2007.

The court observed that the petitioner was entitled to regularisation of her services, but it was not done even after taking her service for 25 years even as the services of scores of people were regularised, similarly situated in terms the apex court’s judgment in Umadevi’s case.

The court also said that after taking the service of the petitioner for 25 long years without interruption and without any intervention of judicial fora, “the action of the State in not paying the petitioner even a penny on her retirement would not behove the status of the respondent being a model employer”.

‘Exploitation’

“The action of the State in extracting employment from the petitioner, not considering her case for regularisation, and retiring her without a penny would amount to exploitation of human labour at the hands of the State, which can never be countenanced,” the court observed while directing the government to regularise her service with effect from 1992, when she completed 10 years as a temporary employee.

The court also directed the government to calculate her terminal benefits on the basis of the applicable pay scale to similarly situated employees with effect from March 1992, and pay the terminal benefits within a period of four months.

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