“Supreme Court Refers the Question of Whether Civilian Employees of Armed Forces Unit-Run Canteens Are Considered Government Servants to a Larger Bench”


In a notable development, the Supreme Court, on September 14th, made a crucial decision to refer a significant case concerning the employment status of civilian employees engaged in Unit Run Canteens (URCs) operating within the purview of the Armed Forces to a larger bench. This decision has been prompted by the presence of conflicting judgments in previous cases, most notably the “Union of India vs. Mohd Aslam” case, as reported in [2001].

The crux of this matter revolves around the fundamental question of whether civilian employees working in URCs are to be categorized as government servants. The existence of contradictory verdicts in cases such as Mohd. Aslam (2001) and R.R. Pillai’s case (2009) has necessitated a comprehensive review by a larger bench to provide clarity and consistency in legal interpretation.

This decision to refer the case to a larger bench underscores the complexity of the issue at hand and its far-reaching implications for the rights, benefits, and legal status of civilian employees associated with URCs. It reflects the Supreme Court’s commitment to ensuring uniformity in legal principles and resolving contentious legal matters that have the potential to impact a significant segment of the workforce. The outcome of this referral will undoubtedly hold substantial consequences for the civilian employees in question, as well as for future interpretations of employment law within the context of URCs and the Armed Forces.

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