Ministry of Railway has discontinued the LARSGESS (The Liberalised Active Retirement Scheme for Guaranteed Employment for Safety Staff), the Railway Jobs Scheme for Wards of Railway Employees till further notification. The recruitment scheme for the wards of railway employees seeking VRS was initiated in 2004, by Ministry of Railway under the tenure of Railway Minister Nitish Kumar.
The announcement of discontinuation of Railway Jobs Scheme for Wards of Railway Employees came after a judgment issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which stated that such policy violated the constitutional principal of ‘principle of equal opportunity’. The Punjab and Haryana High Court citing the article 14 and 16 as reference directed Ministry of Railway to “revisit the offending policy keeping in view the principle of equal opportunity in public employment’’.
As per the Article 16 of Indian Constitution ‘There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State’. The LARSGESS (The Liberalised Active Retirement Scheme for Guaranteed Employment for Safety Staff) was seen as violating the above principle.
This move by railway ministry has caused discontent with railway unions and demand for continuation of scheme has been raised by them stating ‘“Agreed that it can’t be continued in North India and West India because the high courts in Ahmedabad in the past and Chandigarh have given negative orders. But that does not stop this scheme in the rest of the country outside the jurisdiction of these courts,”
Railway Ministry in order to formulate a uniform policy for employees of all regions has approached Supreme Court for settlement of the issue as the Kerala High Court and Patna High Court had passed judgment in support of LARSGESS earlier.
LARSGESS was implemented following safety workshop in 2004, which pointed out that accidents and mishaps can be avoided by appointing younger workforce in the in jobs related to safety, which requires quick reflexes and agility, which a person may not possess after a certain age.