As per the case, the government took a decision to regularise the services of nearly 35,000 employees working in various cooperative societies, marketing societies and cooperative wholesale stores societies as salesmen by drawing a cut-off date of March 12, 2001.
Of them, 26,000 employees were regularised while the rest of the employees were left in the lurch as none of them were sponsored from the employment exchange. Moreover, various administrative delays resulted in the issue failing to reach its logical end despite the 9,000 employees being recruited based on available vacancies and having put in decades for service.
The petitioners had contended that their appointments were not illegal and could be termed only as irregular due to the fact that they were not appointed through employment exchange.
Conceding to their submission, Justice N Anand Venkatesh said, “The line between irregularity and illegality is to be drawn where there exist certain mandatory substantial and procedural requirements. A deviation from the latter must be curable and an appointment shall not be illegal solely due to non-compliance of the same.”
Based on this reasoning, he held that the appointments not being sponsored by employment exchange as prescribed under Rule 149 (2) of the Rules would only make the appointments irregular and not illegal, and directed the government to regularise the services of the eligible petitioners within eight weeks.
The judge also directed the government to extend the benefit of regularisation to all those employees who are similarly placed even though they have not knocked the doors of the court.