|State Government order not applicable to Koodankulam power project|
MADURAI: Families displaced owing to the establishment of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tirunelveli district cannot seek employment in the project as a matter of right, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Allowing a writ appeal filed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), a Division Bench, comprising Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice S. Palanivelu, said that land-losers could not be offered jobs unless the employer formulated such a scheme.
On the existence of a 1978 State Government Order, which stipulates that displaced families should be given preference in employment, the Judges said that it would be applicable only to private and public sector undertakings of the State Government and not to Central Government establishments.
Speaking for the Bench, Mr. Justice Palanivelu said: “As far as the GO is concerned, it is only an administrative instruction having no legal binding on an individual or an undertaking not covered by it.
“Hence, it would be strange to contend and hold that it persuades the appellant to provide employment at least to one of the family members whose land was covered by acquisition.”
Even the doctrine of promissory estoppel (a doctrine in which a non contractual promise may be made enforceable to avoid injustice) could not be pressed into service in the present case because the State Government had no role in the affairs of NPCIL except acquiring lands, the Judges observed.
The writ appeal was filed against an order passed by a single judge on July 25 to provide employment to a land-loser’s daughter on the strength of an Employment Preference Certificate issued by a Tahsildar under the 1978 G.O.
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