The Madhya Pradesh High Court ruled in favour of contractual employees who were engaged by the National Health Mission (NHM), upholding their entitlement to the same wages contracted during their service even after a change in their employer.

The Court held that contractual employees engaged by the NHM were entitled to the same wages contracted during their service, even after a change in the employer.

A series of petitions were filed by individuals initially employed by the NHM under various subsidiary roles. The NHM delegated the services of the petitioners to Rogi Kalyan Samiti (RKS), which, in turn, outsourced the services through another contractor. The petitioners contested this change of employer and the subsequent reduction in wages initially contracted with the NHM.

A Single Bench of Justice Vivek Agarwal observed, “There is no iota of doubt that once for the same work, contract was entered into between National Health Mission and a particular set of employees either in individual or in a collective capacity and certain wages were decided for doing the said work then during the currency of continuance of the said work, wages cannot be adversely affected.

Senior Advocate K.C. Ghildiyal represented the petitioners, while Panel Advocate Vijay Kumar Shukla appeared for the respondents.

The NHM argued that once services were delegated to RKS, it was their call to determine the terms and conditions of contractual employees engaged in providing these services.

The Court delved into the question of whether the NHM was entitled to delegate its work to RKS and, in turn, if RKS was entitled to further delegate it to a contractor to provide these ancillary services.

The Court remarked that NHM did not delegate overall control in favour of RKS or the contractor. There was only an administrative arrangement whereby RKS was tasked with managing subsidiary services so that NHM could concentrate on their core function of providing health services.

The Court held that “there cannot be any reduction of wages on delegation of work to Rogi Kalyan Samiti or sub delegation of work to a contractor and, therefore, respondents have failed to make out a case for reduction of wages for doing the same nature of work for the same duration in the hands of a delegatee or a sub delegatee and, thus, the submission put forth by the respondents that they are entitled to negotiate the wages again, is not made out.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petitions.

Cause Title: Darvari Singh Sareyam & Ors. v. The State Of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

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