MBMC reinstates sacked firefighters after Bombay High Court orders

Bhayandar: Nearly seven years after they were sacked for being unqualified in 2012, eight of the 17 fire fighters in the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) have been reinstated by the civic administration.

The reinstatement followed orders passed by a divisional bench of the Mumbai High Court in response to a writ petition (10074/2019) filed by the sacked fire fighters.

However, the fire fighters are mandated to complete the certificate course in Fire Safety Training from the Nagpur-based National Institute of Fire Safety Engineering, within a period of one year from the date of their reinstatement, failing which the civic administration was free to take punitive action against offenders, stated the order passed by Justice Ranjit More and Justice NJ Jamadar.

The matter is related to massive irregularities in context to the recruitment of 92 fire personnel in 2010. The recruitment process landed in a controversy over allegations of favouritism to unqualified personnel by side-lining the meritorious ones.

Taking a serious note of the matter, the erstwhile civic chief Vikram Kumar had sacked 17 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.

“It is yet another classic example of how the rule books are thrown to the wind. While the administration failed to take a proper stand in the court, the ruling governance did not care to take an advice from its legal wing,” said former corporator Milan Mhatre.

After a nod by the standing committee, the general body had passed a resolution to reinstate the fire fighters. However, the civic administration had flatly refused to implement the controversial resolution, prompting the fire fighters to knock judicial doors.

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