Free Press Journal

Despite judicial restraint, MBMC opens backdoor for ‘unqualified’ firemen


mbmc, bhayandar, unqualified fireman, bjp, judiciary, illegal recruitments

Bhayandar: In yet another classic example of how politicians throw the rule book in the wind, the BJP-ruled Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) passed a resolution in the general body, paving way for the reinstatement of 17 unqualified firefighters who were sacked in 2002. This despite judicial orders disallowing such illegal recruitments.

All eyes are now on municipal commissioner Balaji Khatgaonkar, who has to decide whether or not to implement the controversial resolution. “We are bound to follow judicial orders, the resolution will be scrutinized and if need arises it will be sent to the government for scrapping.” said Khatgaonkar. The matter is related to massive irregularities in context to the recruitment of 92 fire personnel in 2010.

The recruitment process landed into controversy over allegations of favouritism to unqualified personnel by side-lining meritorious ones. Taking a serious note the matter the erstwhile civic chief-Vikram Kumar had sacked 16 incompetent recruits. After the order was unsuccessfully challenged in the High Court and later in the Labour Court, the case was moved before the Industrial Court in 2012. On the virtue of stay orders, the personnel managed to cling-on to their jobs for more than five years, till the court not only upheld their dismissal orders but clearly stated that it would not go behind such parties who join hands to deliberately delay the matter by planning 60 adjournments. This tagged with an advise to argue the case on merits of revision application.

“It is clearly a case of judicial contempt which smells of massive corruption. The resolution if implemented will be challenged.” said former municipal corporator, Milan Mhatre. The BJP-led governance however defended the move by claiming that it was better to induct these experienced firemen instead of appointing new recruits.