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Tribunals Do Not Have Jurisdiction to Entertain Plea of Anganwadi Workers : J&K HC

Tribunals Do Not Have Jurisdiction to Entertain Plea of Anganwadi Workers : J&K HC
The Single Bench of Ali Mohammad Magrey of Jammu & Kashmir High Court ruled on September 17, 2020, that Anganwadi workers do not come under the preview of Section 14 of the Central Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. The court ruled that they do not even hold a public position. The case was of Tasleem Jan V. State of Jammu & Kashmir & Ors. The petition was taken up by the HC to consider whether it is needed to be transferred to the Central Administrative Tribunal or not. The council for the Petitioner said that the Anganwadi Helpers neither constitute a service nor they hold a public post. The petition filed was related to recruitment. The council for the petitioner said that any matter in relation to recruitment or even any service matter concerning thereto will not fall within the purview of the provisions mentioned under Chapter III and V of the act, especially Section 14, 15, 28, 29.

The petition in this matter relates to recruitment against the position of Anganwadi Helpers. Section 14 of the act specifically states that matters concerning recruitment shall not come under the purview of the Tribunals. It is thus seen that Section 14, delineating the matters in relation to which the Tribunals have been prescribed to have the jurisdiction, speaks of recruitment, and matters concerning recruitment, inter alia, to any civil service of the Union. The word ‘Union’ in terms of Explanation appended under Section 14(1)(C) has reference also to a Union Territory. The words used are ‘civil services’ or ‘civil post’. Further, the petitioner’s counsel also said that in the case of State of Karnataka V. Ameerbi where Anganwadi Helpers filed a petitioner in the State of Karnataka, it was held by Tribunal that the petition is not maintainable. When challenged before the higher bench of the Tribunal it was held that it is allowed but when finally the case reached the Supreme Court, the apex court referring to its various decisions in the case such as Supdt. Of post-Offices V. P.K Rajamma (1977) 3 SCC 94, Nagarathna B.K V. Secy. Social Welfare Deptt, 1992 KSLJ 177, etc. held that Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by the Anganwadi Helpers. 

The High Court relying on the judgment of the apex court in the case of State of Assam V. Kanak Chandra Dutta AIR 1967 SC 884 said that it is settled that the appointments made under a scheme which is not of a permanent nature, and appointees, although might have continued for a long time, do not hold a civil post. The court held that “So, it is thus settled that appointments made under a scheme which is not of a permanent nature, and appointees, although might have continued for a long time, do not hold a civil post and that Anganwadi workers do not hold a civil post, they do not come within the purview of Section 14 of the CAT Act, 1985, and the Tribunal would not have the jurisdiction to entertain their petition. The court further said that the petition is not needed to be transferred to the Tribunal. The court further observed and said that the court is pained to notice that petition seeking mandamus upon respondents for the post of Anganwadi worker in ward-13 is pending for almost 3 years and the council for the petitioner has also been careless and lazy to get the case listed and hearing for disposal.


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