The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to intervene in a Kerala High Court decision directing the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to relieve empanelled drivers who are continuing in service beyond 180 days.
A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud gave the KSRTC time till June 30 to implement the decision.
Meanwhile, the KSRTC can hire temporary drivers to avoid any disruption to the scheduled services.
The High Court had asked the KSRTC to relieve the drivers, numbering 1,565, before April 30.
The court had made it clear that the KSRTC was free to request the Public Service Commission to advise candidates from the rank list for the vacancies already reported if it so desired and the appointment, if any, shall be in accordance with the seniority in advice.
However, the High Court had cautioned that the KSRTC shall not operate its services with empanelled drivers when those on the ranked list of the PSC were eager and willing to join duty if advised for appointment.
The Bench pointed out that empanelled drivers were allowed to continue even after the expiry of 180 days in violation of Rule 9(2) of Part II of the Kerala State and Subordinate Services Rules.
The rules allow filling a vacancy temporarily in a post immediately owing to an emergency. However, the rules also stipulate that a person so appointed to a post (other than teaching post) shall not be allowed to continue in such post for a period exceeding 180 days.