SRINAGAR: The High Court of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh ruled that an individual working temporarily for over seven years is entitled to regularization benefits under relevant regulations, Daily Excelsior reported here on Friday.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar, addressing a petition from a university employee, granted retrospective regularization as a Security Guard from April 1, 2005, with all associated benefits. The petitioner-Ghar Singh approached the court projected in his plea that, though, his services were regularized vide order dated 25th March 2010 with immediate effect, yet in terms of the provisions of SRO 64 of 1994 adopted by the University, he was entitled to be regularized immediately after the completion of seven years of service in the year 2004.

Justice Kumar while allowing his petition held him entitled to regularization as Security Guard w.e.f. from 1st April 2005 with all consequential benefits including arrears of salary w.e.f. 1st April 2005 till his actual regularization made in the year 2010. “…suffice it to say that the petitioner, who had been rendering services as Security Guard since 7th July 1997 continuously and without any break, cannot be termed ‘casual labour’. Casual Labour refers to labour whose employment is intermittent, sporadic or extends over a short period or continued from one work to another, whereas a daily rated worker or daily wager is a person, who is engaged for rendering continuous nature of service and is paid wages on daily basis”, read the judgement.

The court emphasized that prolonged continuous service does not equate to casual labour, and delayed claims for benefits may still be considered based on the circumstances.

Despite the petitioner’s retirement, the court deemed the retrospective regularization appropriate, as it wouldn’t affect the rights of other employees. The judgement highlighted the power dynamics between employees and employers, especially when a university, as a dominant entity, is involved.

The retrospective regularization court added, given to the petitioner, at this stage when he has retired from service, would not adversely affect the service rights of any of the employees of the University. “It is not a case where, upon petitioner’s retrospective regularization, seniority is to be re-fixed. In such a situation, it would have been justified for this Court not to entertain the plea as that would have been tantamount to unsettling the rights of other employees”, read the judgement.