Respite For Tribal Engineers

In a landmark judgment, the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) has directed Odisha Government to appoint deprived and discriminated Scheduled Tribe (ST) Diploma Engineers in the post of Junior Engineer in the Department of Water Resources. 

 
The Judgment will benefit at least 61 ST candidates. Relaxing the Recruitment Rules, the State Government had taken a decision in administrative interest to appoint JEs in different departments from the Diploma Panel maintained by the Committee of Chief Engineers. 
 
Accordingly, EIC Water Resources requested the Panel to sponsor as many as 314 candidates including 165 ST incumbents. Out of 165 ST vacancies 126 were backlog.
 
Committee of Chief Engineers only sponsored 257 names including 108 ST candidates. Though almost all candidates of other categories were appointed prior to March 31, 2014, authorities accommodated only 47 ST candidates.
 
Though the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary, Water Resources were sympathetic to the cause of deprived ST candidates because of contradicting legal opinion, the deprived ST candidates were debarred from appointment.
 
On behalf of Chief Minister it was answered in the State Legislative  Assembly that because of pending litigations before SAT appointments were not given.
 
A Division Bench of SAT comprising Acting Chairman BK Das and Administrative Member MM Praharaj heard the matter at length.
 
On behalf of deprived ST candidates, former Government Advocate Prahallad Kumar Sinha conducted the cases.
 
 Convinced, the Division Bench of SAT allowed the prayer of the applicants and directed State Government respondents to appoint them in the post of Junior Engineer within three months with retrospective effect from the date their counterparts were posted.
 
In its Judgment, SAT observed that while denying appointment to the applicants and other similar candidates, Law of Reservation was violated.
 
In this particular case, equals have been treated as unequals when appointment orders were issued in favour of other candidates depriving the ST aspirants.
 
SAT is of the view that such ST candidates were discriminated against which violated their constitutional rights.
 
Therefore, they are to be treated similarly as that of their counterparts in other categories and are entitled for appointment.
 
This Judgment of SAT has brought respite and hope for 61 deprived and discriminated ST candidates and they are now hopeful that by implementing the direction, the State Government will give them appointment as Junior Engineer without any loss of time. 
 


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