Delhi High Court: Trainee Cannot be at par with Full-Time Employee

In a latest Judgment of Delhi High Court, Hon’ble Justice Ms Jyoti Singh passed her Judgement in the case Mohit Dahiya vs Delhi Pollution Control Committee regarding status of trainee employee.

Brief Facts of the case Mohit Dahiya vs Delhi Pollution Control committee are as follows:

The petitioner, in this case, possessed a postgraduate degree in M.Sc ( Environmental Science) and passed out in May 2016. 

The respondent, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, invited applications for the post of Trainee Engineer, and the eligibility criteria for the post was M.Sc. Environment Science. It was also stated in the advertisement that the recruitment was for six months only.

The petitioner applied for the position, and his appointment was confirmed by offer letter dated 04.07.2017. The petitioner was informed that the training period would be for six months unless a competent authority extended it.

After the petitioner joined the office on 25.07.2017, he was informed that as per the practice of the Department, his initial tenure would continue after a notional break of one day and would continue to work in this manner for a period of 3 years only.

He worked diligently and sincerely in the office, and his tenure was renewed after every six months. He also appeared for certain exams of his M.Sc course and secured first division.

The respondents invited applications for trainee engineers again on 13.03.2020 where the eligibility criteria were set as B.E/B.Tech/M.Sc./MCA with First Division on a full-time regular basis from a recognized University/Institution. Applications were also invited for the post on which the petitioner was posted.

The petitioner applied for the post stated above, but his application was rejected on the ground that a Trainee could not re-apply, having been appointed once, and the three years tenure has expired.

On 13.07.2020, the respondents informed the petitioner that his service was no longer needed as he had completed three years with the respondent- department.

On that very day (13.07.2020), the petitioner approached the Department and requested them to extend his engagement. The Court rejected the request.

Aggrieved by order of the Department, the petitioner moved Delhi High Court.

Arguments Before the Court

The Counsel for the petitioner raised the following contentions in the Court:-

  • It was submitted to the Court that the petitioner served the Department with full dedication from the day he was appointed.
  • The Counsel argued that as per settled law, temporary or contractual employees cannot be replaced by any other ad hoc or temporary or contractual employee and can only be replaced by a regularly selected employee. 
  • The counsel placed reliance on the Supreme Court’s judgments in State of Haryana v. Piara Singh and Abhinav Choudhary v. Delhi Technological where it was held that another contractual employee could not replace a contractual employee.
  • The Counsel also referred to a judgment of the Supreme Court where it was held that if an employee was appointed under a government scheme, then the person shall be employed under the scheme till the scheme is scrapped.
  • The Counsel argued that the respondent was hiring new employees under the same terms as the petitioner, and in such a case service of the petitioner should continue.

Arguments raised by the respondents:-

  • The Counsel for the respondent argued that there is no merit in the arguments raised by the pensioner as he was only employed for three years.
  • She argued that as per the policy of the Department, a trainee could be employed for a maximum duration of three months as the position was not against any sanctioned post.
  • The Counsel further argued that there was a clear stipulation that temporary appointment would not confer any claim for any Post in the DPCC.
  • It was contended that the objective of the appointment was to provide experience to trainees and to help the senior officers. The objective was not to provide full-time employment.
  • It was also argued that the position should be open for other candidates so that they can get training in environmental sciences and improve their future.

Reasoning and Decision of the Court:-

The Court noted the fact that as per the offer letter, there were clear terms that stated that the appointment would only be for six months unless extended by a competent authority. It was also clearly stated that the term of employment was a maximum of 3 years.

The Court also observed that the vacancy notice mentioned that the appointment was for training purposes only and no long term or temporary employment was offered.

After going through all the documents placed on record and the arguments of the Counsel, the Court came to the conclusion that the nature appointment was that of an internship/trainee and full-time employment was not offered.

The main objective of the position was to train candidates in the field of environmental science so that they can find employment elsewhere.

The Court opined that there was no merit in the application and dismissed the application.

Case Details:

Title:-Mohit Dahiya vs Delhi Pollution Control Committee

Case No.:- W.P.(C) 4418/2020 & CM APPL. 15915/2020 

Date of Order:- 2309.2020

Quorum:- Hon’ble Justice Ms. Jyoti Singh

Advocates:- Mr. Rishi Sood for the Petitioner : Ms. Avnish Ahlawat for the Respondent

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