Mumbai: Observing that the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) must be sensitive towards it employees, the Bombay High Court has ordered the transport ministry to spell out if it would provide alternative jobs and salaries to those of its drivers suffering from colour blindness.
A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Burgess Colabawalla has ordered Anil Parab, the newly sworn-in transport minister, to personally look into the issue and file a report on it before January 31.
The bench was dealing with a bunch of petitions filed by drivers of the MSRTC who are colour-blind. These drivers have been reportedly disallowed from doing their routine jobs and told not to report to work. The MSRTC has also not paid their salaries from April 2018.
Taking note of the same, Justice Kathawalla, in an earlier hearing had said, “It appears that MSRTC is taking its own time in forming guidelines with regards to offering alternative jobs to these drivers.
In view thereof, these employees have no income since April 2018 because of which they are neither able to take care of themselves and their families.”
“The MSRTC needs to be sensitive towards the problems faced by these drivers and their dependants by offering them alternative jobs and start paying them their monthly salary, to enable them to take care of their families, including old parents and their children, who are still attending schools or colleges,” Justice Kathawalla noted.
The bench had accordingly directed the MSRTC to consider the issue ‘sympathetically’ and pay the salaries of these drivers and reinstate them in service but assign them other jobs.
However, the transport body had, in December 2019, cited the want of a transport minister, as the new government had not allocated the ministry to any of its leaders. It, however claimed that a committee had been formed to look into the issues pertaining to problems faced by these drivers.
This committee, comprising the board of directors and headed by the transport minister, would decide if alternative jobs could be given to these drivers and whether they could be paid any salaries.
“We therefore, direct the board of directors of the MSRTC to consider the report and convey its decision to this court by January 31,” Justice Kathawalla said, while adjourning the matter.