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Legal Position on Temporary Employees

Reiterating its view that daily wage workers or those employed on contract have no legal right to be absorbed in service, the Supreme Court in the case of Secretary to Government, School Education Department, Chennai (Appellants) vs. Thiru R. Govindaswamy and Ors.(Respondents)[1]yet again said that unless they are working against a sanctioned post, temporary employees cannot demand regularization of their services.

Theappeals were preferred against the impugned judgments and orders passed by the High Court of Madras, by which the High Court hadregularized the services of part-time sweepers. The bench consisting of Justice B. S. Chauhan and Justice A K Sikri, said that temporary service for a certain number of years cannot entitle an employee to claim regularization of his services.


The facts and circumstances giving rise to these appeals are:-

The Respondentswere appointed as part-time sweepers by School Education Department of Chennai (Appellant) from 1987 till 1993. As the Respondents had been working for more than 10 years, they filed several Writ Petitions before the High Court of Madras for seeking regularization of their services.

The said Writ Petitions were allowed by the common judgment and order dated 23.7.2012 with the direction to regularize the services of the Respondents on full time basis.

Anappeal was preferred in the Supreme Court by the School Education Department of Chennai.

While deciding the issues involved, the Court cited the judgment State of Karnataka and Ors. v. Umadevi and Ors.[2], wherein the court held as under:-

“There is no fundamental right in those who have been employed on daily wages or temporarily or on contractual basis, to claim that they have a right to be absorbed in service. Theycannot be said to be holders of a post, since, a regular appointment could be made only by making appointments consistent with the requirements of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. The right to be treated equally with the other employees employed on daily wages, cannot be extended to a claim for equal treatment with those who were regularly employed. That would be treating unequal’s as equals.“

Position on Part-time Employees

Further the court in the case ofUnion of India and Ors. v. A.S. Pillai and Ors.[3], dealt with the issue of regularization of part-time employees and the court refused the relief on the ground that part-timers are free to get themselves engaged elsewhere and they are not restrained from working elsewhere when they are not working for the authority/employer. Being the part-time employees, they are not subject to service rules or other Regulations which govern and control the regularly appointed staff of the department. Therefore, the question of giving them equal pay for equal work or considering their case for regularization would not arise.

Further the Court also cited the judgment in State of Rajasthan and Ors. Vs. Daya Lal and Ors[4].wherein the Courthad considered the scope of regularisation of irregular or part-time appointments in all possible eventualities and laid down well-settled principles relating to regularisation and parity in pay as under:

  1. i.        Mere continuation of service by an temporary or ad hoc or daily-wage employee, under cover of some interim orders of the court, would not confer upon him any right to be absorbed into service, as such service would be ‘litigious employment’. Even temporary, ad hoc or daily- wage service for a long number of years, let alone service for one or two years, will not entitle such employee to claim regularization, if he is not working against a sanctioned post. Sympathy and sentiment cannot be grounds for passing any order of regularization in the absence of a legal right.
  2. ii.      Part-time employees are not entitled to seek regularization as they are not working against any sanctioned posts. There cannot be a direction for absorption, regularization or permanent continuance of part time temporary employees.


  1. Part time temporary employees in government run institutions cannot claim parity in salary with regular employees of the government on the principle of equal pay for equal work. Nor can employees in private employment, even if serving full time, seek parity in salary with government employees. The right to claim a particular salary against the State must arise under a contract or under a statute.

Relying upon the said judgments the Supreme Court allowed the appeal preferred by the Schools Education Department, Chennai. The court though did not want to disturb the services of the Respondents;hence the services of the Respondents which stood regularized were not to be affected.

[1] Decided on 21.01.2014

[2] AIR 2006 SC 1806

[3] (2010) 13 SCC 448

[4]AIR2011SC1193, [2011]1SCR707