High Court stays bid to regularise 1,850 temporary employees in Kerala Bank

Kerala High Court

Kochi: As the tenure of the current Kerala government is set to end soon, the Pinarayi Vijayan ministry has been of late rushing through the regularisation of temporary employees engaged in several departments and institutions. However, its planned bid to grant permanent postings to 1,850 employees in the Kerala Bank has been stymied as the Kerala High Court has stayed an official move in this regard.

The order staying any regularisation attempt was passed by Justice Sunil Thomas on a petition filed by one of the agitating PSC rank-holders. The plea was filed earlier in a pre-emptive bid as the rank-holders had expected an order from the Council of Ministers favouring the temporary staff of the Kerala Bank. However, Monday's Cabinet meeting didn't take up the matter as was anticipated, though it issued an order to regularise over 200 temporary employees in several agencies of the Kerala government.

The government has defended the attempt to allot permanent jobs stating that the appointments in the Kerala Bank are not routed through the Public Service Commission (PSC). When the court verbally asked weather the appointments in Kerala Bank had been routed through the PSC, the government representative said it had not been done yet.

Government feigns ignorance

The government and Kerala Bank on the other hand argued before the court that there has been no recommendation or proposal before them to regularise the temporary staff in the Kerala Bank. Earlier it was reported that the Secretary for Cooperation has sent back a recommendation made by the Cabinet in this regard. Part-time sweepers to those in senior management positions were on the list of employees being considered for permanent appointments at the Kerala Bank. The CEO of Kerala Bank had sent a file to the Cabinet containing the names and details of 1,856 persons to be considered for confirmation and another file of only those who had completed 10 years of service.

Of the 1,856, 852 have worked temporarily for 10 years. Most of the remaining 1,004 have less than five years of work experience.

Two lists were prepared so that at least those who had completed 10 years could be made permanent if there was any objection to the other category.

The court issued the order on Monday on a petition filed by Ezhachery resident Haridas whose name appears in the 2016 PSC rank list for the posts of clerk and cashier in the Kottayam District Cooperative Bank.

With the Secretary's adverse move followed by the court's objection the government's move to make employees at the Kerala Bank permanent could be kept on hold. This could be also in view of the public outcry against the mass confirmation of hundreds of employees in other government departments.

The Kerala Bank came into existence last year after the amalgamation of the district cooperative banks with the Kerala State Cooperative Bank.

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