‘Hospital should have ensured old employees are given preference over new contractual ones’
The Delhi High Court has ordered Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here to re-employ 12 multi-tasking contractual staffers, who were sacked from service in July. It noted that during the pandemic, the hospital should have ensured that old employees with experience are given preference over new contractual employees.
Justice Prathiba M. Singh also observed that “currently, there is a huge pandemic going on and the workmen, if terminated, would be completely rendered jobless”.
The court’s order came after the 12 workmen at RML Hospital, employed through a contractor, challenged the termination order issued by the hospital on July 28. The 12 workmen were engaged by the contractor, between 2015 and 2018, for rendering multiple-task services at the hospital.
While they continuously rendered services even during the pandemic, the 12 workmen lost their job after the contract was handed over to Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for maintenance of some portions of the hospital building and other services. The CPWD appointed a fresh contractor, who did not continue the employees of the previous contractor.
The High Court remarked that “the old contractor is continuing to render services to the hospital even today and hence, the termination of employees does not appear to be justified at all”.
The old contractor later summited that it was willing to take 12 workmen on contractual basis, if the hospital does not have an objection and gives an approval for the same.
“Considering the fact that…the contractor is willing to accommodate the workmen, the hospital is directed to approve the employment of the petitioners [workmen] under the contractor on the same terms and conditions which were operating prior to July 2020,” the High Court said.
“This court is of the opinion, in the context of the petitioners, who were working for several years in the hospital, that the hospital should have ensured that old employees who are working ought to have been given a preference over new contractual employees,” it added.