SC/ST employees’ associations cannot threaten managements: High Court

Varsity ticked off for promoting two employees to direct recruitment post

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe employees’ associations in various establishments can only make requests, they cannot threaten the management and interfere in administrative decisions so as to compel an institution to act in a manner they wish, the Madras High Court has observed.

Justices S. Vaidyanathan and A.A. Nakkiran made the observations while coming down heavily upon the University of Madras for having promoted two Scheduled Caste employees to the post of assistant librarian, between 2011 and 2013, though it was a post which could be filled only through a direct recruitment.

The Division Bench pointed out that the employees, P. Dhanasekaran and V. Kalaiappan, had given three representations to the university in 2010 and 2011 to consider promoting them to the post. A reading of those representations, especially the one made in 2011, was in the nature of a threat, the judges said.

“[An] SC/ST association can make a request, but cannot threaten and shall not interfere in the administrative action of any institution so as to compel them to act in a particular manner they want,” the Bench wrote, allowing a 2018 writ appeal by the university against a single judge’s order.

In 2017, the single judge had directed the university to promote yet another employee, S. Bhaskaran, to the post after he had filed a writ petition claiming that he alone was denied the benefit. Setting aside the single judge’s order, the Division Bench held that none would be entitled to promotion to a direct recruitment post.

The Bench ruled that the university syndicate meetings held on August 12, 2011 and April 26, 2013 ought not to have paved the way for the promotion of the two employees. “We want to emphasise that the promotion has not been made mistakenly, rather it has been done wantonly to satisfy somebody,” the Bench wrote.

Though departmental action was required against the Registrar, the judges noted with dismay that the Registrar had retired from service after bringing a great disrepute to the institution.

The Bench also remarked that the university had lost its reputation in the recent years owing to the act of certain officials.

It underscored the need to take stringent action against officials who failed to maintain integrity and devotion to duty and said they should be dismissed from service and deprived of even gratuity.

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