Get absorbed in BSNL or stay with Govt: High Court
NEW DELHI, APRIL 18:
The Delhi High Court has asked Indian Telecom Service (ITS) Officers to decide whether they want to get absorbed in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd or stay as Government employees. The court has set a two-week deadline for the ITS officers, who have been awaiting a resolution for over seven years.
The court has also told the Government to ensure redeployment of those officers who opt against getting absorbed in BSNL and not to keep them idle. The Bench has also directed BSNL to relieve remaining officers who do not opt for absorption within two weeks after the officers make their decision.
There are 1,700 ITS officers, of which about 90 have already opted to get absorbed in BSNL. Around 1,200 are working in BSNL on deputation, while 400 officers have been put in the surplus cell. The 400 ITS officers had filed the appeal in the court against the method adopted by the Department of Telecom in deciding the issue.
Responding to the High Court order the spokesperson of Indian Telecom Service Association said, “This is a big relief for us as this issue has been lingering for over seven years now. It has been decided that all the absorption offers made so far from retrospective date of October 1, 2000 are illegal which vindicates our stand in the matter and proves that Absorption Cell of DoT has all along been unreasonable, coercive and offered illegal absorption which officers did not accept. Officers are now preparing to comply with the two- week deadline of giving final choice for absorption.”
While this puts to rest the ITS absorption issue, the court's ruling could put BSNL in a tough position especially if majority of the officers decide to stay with the Government.
Over 1,000 officers are on deputation to BSNL and are handling some crucial functions. These officers had not opted to get absorbed in BSNL due to difference in benefits compared to a Government office
Main Points of the judgment are as under
i) The deemed date of absorption of the petitioners fixed as 1.10.2000, is held to be illegal, being contrary to Rule 37-A (4) of CCS (Pension) Rules;
ii) The deemed date of permanent absorption of such of the petitioners who seek permanent absorption in BSNL/MTNL shall be 8.12.2005;
iii) The petitioners before this Court are given an option, to be exercised within two weeks from the date of this order, to revert to the Government or to seek permanent absorption in BSNL/MTNL as the case may be;
iv) Those Government servants who have already accepted permanent absorption w.e.f. 1.10.2000 will not be entitled to exercise a fresh option in terms of this order;
v) BSNL/MTNL shall relieve such of the petitioners, who opt to revert to Government service within 2 weeks of receipt of options from them;
vi) Such of the petitioners who opt to revert to the Government shall be appropriately redeployed by the Government in Government service through surplus cell of the Government. We have no doubt in our mind that the Government would not like to keep such of the petitioners who opt to revert to the Government idle and, subject to availability of the positions with it, give them such work as is deemed appropriate to be performed by them.