A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to relieve those empanelled drivers who have been allowed to continue beyond 180 days.
The Bench comprising Justice V.Chitambaresh and Justice A.M. Babu passed the directive while disposing of a few writ petitions filed by some candidates seeking a directive to appoint drivers from the PSC rank list.
The court directed the KSRTC to relieve 1,565 empanelled drivers before April 30. The court made it clear that the KSRTC was free to request the PSC to advise candidates from the rank list of drivers 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 court cautioned the KSRTC that it shall not operate services with empanelled drivers when those on the rank list of the PSC were eager and willing to join duty if advised for appointment.
The Bench pointed out that the 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 (KS and SSR).
The rules allowed filling a vacancy temporarily in a post immediately owing to an emergency. However, the rules also stipulated 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.
But the empanelled drivers, who were 1,565 in number, could not be permitted to “overstay in the post illegally denying an opportunity to the KSRTC to request the PSC to advise the candidates for the vacancies already reported”.
The court also noted that the expiry of the ranked list of the PSC dated August 23, 2012 was immaterial since it was conceded that 2,455 driver vacancies were reported by the KSRTC to the PSC much before the expiry of the ranked list on December 31, 2016 pursuant to an interim order in 2015.