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Legal

Updated on: Tuesday, November 09, 2021, 11:10 AM IST

FPJ Legal: Bombay High Court asks MSRTC to initiate contempt proceedings against striking employees

Over 98,000 employees of MSRTC have gone on strike since the midnight of November 3-4 demanding that they be treated as government employees.
FPJ Legal: Bombay High Court asks MSRTC to initiate contempt proceedings against striking employees | PTI Photo

FPJ Legal: Bombay High Court asks MSRTC to initiate contempt proceedings against striking employees | PTI Photo

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Criticising the adamant stand taken by the employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) for not withdrawing their strike despite the Maharashtra government agreeing with their demands and forming a special committee to address their demand, the Bombay High Court has asked the transport corporation to initiate appropriate proceedings against the errant employees.

In an order that was made available late last night, a vacation bench of justices SJ Kathawalla and SP Tavade asked the MSRTC to initiate appropriate proceedings. “In view thereof, we have asked the learned Advocate for the Petitioner (MSRTC) to take out appropriate proceedings as advised. The learned Advocate representing MSRTC therefore seeks time to take out / file a Contempt Petition. Stand over to 10th November 2021,” reads the order.

Over 98,000 employees of MSRTC have gone on strike since the midnight of November 3-4 demanding that they be treated as government employees.

Their advocate Gunaratan Sadavarte informed the HC yesterday evening that they have decided not to withdraw the strike as they were not happy with the GR.

Expressing displeasure with this, the HC order said everything that the workers of the MSRTC had demanded withdrawing their strike/agitation had been complied with by the Maharashtra government.

“We do not understand why the employees of the MSRTC have now backed out from what they themselves wanted the government to consider,” the bench said adding the state government has cooperated fully with regard to the demand of the MSRTC workers.

Following the HC order earlier in the day on Monday, the government had formed a three-member committee to consider the demand of the MSRTC workers to be treated as state government employees. A government resolution was issued to this effect on Monday afternoon and the committee even held its first meeting. The Minutes of the meeting of the same were submitted before the HC in a special hearing in the evening.

Sadavarte, however, told the court that the government resolution was not in line with the one issued in October 2020 in the case of reservations pertaining to the promotion of employees from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.

Besides, he submitted that several employees of the MSRTC have committed suicide and some of them have in their suicide note blamed the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for the same. He said the workers were hence not willing to withdraw their strike.

To this, the HC observed: “We fail to understand how by not wanting to abide by the order passed by this court and insisting on continuing to breach the orders of this court, the employees (of MSRTC) stand to gain and how such an adamant stand taken by the employees of the MSRTC will prevent their colleagues from taking the drastic step of committing suicide.”

The HC also specifically noted in its order that Sadavarte had assured during a hearing in the morning on Monday that the workers would withdraw their strike/agitation once the state government forms a committee and the committee holds its first meeting to consider their demand.

However, the stand was completely changed in the evening.

“In the minutes of the first meeting held by the committee, it is categorically recorded that the committee has been constituted to consider the demands of the employees of the MSRTC to be treated as employees of the State Government,” the court said.

The bench then directed the MSRTC to take out appropriate proceedings and file a contempt petition against the workers and posted the matter for further hearing on November 10.

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Published on: Tuesday, November 09, 2021, 11:10 AM IST
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