New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Tamil Nadu government for sacking 15,000 panchayat workers appointed by the previous DMK government and wondered whether there was rule of law in the state.
   
A bench of justices DK Jain and AR Dave felt that with every change of government in the state, the employees seem to be at the receiving end.
   
"What is happening in the state? Is there any rule of law in the state? There should be some rule of law.    

"Exactly five years ago they are appointed. Then they are removed. Then after next five years another government comes and makes the appointment," the bench remarked.
   
The apex court passed the observation while adjourning Tamil Nadu government's special leave petition (SLP) challenging the Madras High Court interim order directing reinstatement of about 15,000 MNPs (Makkal Nala Paniyalargal) on the ground that they were sacked on the whims of the government.
   
The bench adjourned the SLP after State Additional Advocate General Gurukrishna Kumar stated that the high court was seized of the matter.
   
The petition was filed against the November 23 order of the division bench upholding the single judge's direction quashing the government's order of November 8.
   
Tamil Nadu submitted that the interim direction of the single judge amounted to granting the final relief in the writ petition which was impermissible as the appointments were made in an irregular and illegal manner by the previous government.
   
It said the observations of the division bench that the appointment and ouster of the "employees concerned" were done at the whims of the government were made without considering in perspective the facts and circumstances leading to the passing of the order "for good and proper reasons".
   
The state claimed that the government after careful examination of the proposal ordered that the posts of MNPs be disbanded with immediate effect to avoid huge expenditure. It was submitted that the high court ought to have seen that there was enough staff in the panchayat unions to look after the work being done by the MNPs.
   
The state submitted that there were over 12,000 village panchayat secretaries at the village level to look after the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme works and apart from that more than 5,100 posts had been created for the scheme at other levels.
   
Assailing the order, the SLP said the high court failed to appreciate concern of the government in the huge expenditure involved in the employment of the MNPs on the exchequer more so when the work being done by them was already being done by the panchayat secretaries.
   
Further they were not appointed in a proper method following the rules and regulations based on prudent fiscal policy and the disbanding had been done to prevent under-utilisation of man power.

(Agencies)