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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to consider within four months the plea of Army porters, who have been working for 15 years, for regularising them on the basis of their service record.

A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra, however, said it was not deciding the issue of jurisdiction of Armed Forces Tribunal to hear the matter.

“In view of the above and in the facts and circumstances of the case and without entering into any other legal issue, we dispose of these appeals directing the respondent (Centre) to consider the case of the appellants (porters) considering their past service record within a period of four months from today,” the bench said in its order passed on May 14.

The bench disposed off the appeals of Army porter Isher Singh and others seeking direction to the Centre and Ministry of Defence to regularise the porters, who have been working in Nowshera (Rajouri) sector in Jammu and Kashmir, the civilian part of the Army, from 15 to 25 years.

The counsel appearing for the porters argued that the Central Administrative Tribunal had taken note of their pleas in its order on May 21, 2009, but rejected their claim while relying on the judgement of Constitution Bench of the apex court.

When the porters appealed in the Armed Forces Tribunal, it did not hear the matter on the dispute of jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Bhim Singh had said that according to the Tribunal, it has no jurisdiction to deal with the case of civilian part of the Army.

The apex court, however, said it was keeping the issue of jurisdiction open.

“We are not deciding the issue of jurisdiction and leave this question open to be decided in appropriate case…,” the bench said.


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