A plea has been filed in the Bombay High Court against the indefinite strike by State Government Employees – paramedics, sanitation workers and teachers, demanding implementation of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) – saying that it is affecting patients and students alike.
𝗦𝗮𝗱𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗽 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗼𝘆𝗲𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗸𝗲
Advocate Gunaratan Sadavarte filed an intervention application seeking directions to the striking employees to immediately withdraw the ongoing strike over the new and old pension scheme issue of Maharashtra government employees.
𝗠𝗮𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘀𝗵𝘁𝗿𝗮 𝗴𝗼𝘃𝘁 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗼𝘆𝗲𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝗣𝗦
Lakhs of employees in Maharashtra have been on an indefinite strike since March 14, 2023, seeking restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), which had been scrapped in 2005 by the then state government. The strike has reportedly affected the health services at government hospitals, schools, and colleges. It has also impacted government offices in rural areas.
Sadavarte mentioned the plea before a bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne pointing out that the strike includes public health service employees working in state-run hospitals, sanitation workers and teachers.
𝗣𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗴𝗼𝘃𝘁 𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗽𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝘂𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗸𝗲: 𝗦𝗮𝗱𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲
He submitted that due to such strikes, patients in government-run hospitals were suffering. Also, citizens, who required documentation from various departments, were also returning empty handed as their work was getting stalled. The application pointed out that the timing of the strike overlapped with the upcoming Class 10 and 12 board examinations.
Sadavarte's application has been filed in a pending public interest litigation of 2014 where the court had expressed hope that no more strikes would occur, leading to suffering for patients.
The advocate clarified that while he was not against the rights of the employees, such strikes should not affect the citizens and students. His application states that the government has announced that it would set up a committee to look into the demand. He argued that without looking into the ‘positive/ affirmative steps’ taken to look into the demands, the employees proceeded to go on an ‘illegal strike’ and continue to do so.
“Due to this, the services in hospitals, educational institutes, government establishments, tax offices and even the district collector offices have completely shut,” read the plea. It adds: “Not getting the treatment well in time and postponement of surgeries due to the strike is violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The strike would be a political tool and due to which the innocent citizens should not suffered.”
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮 𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗼𝘆𝗲𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗳𝗳 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗸𝗲
Further, the strike is against provision of the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act, 2023 (MESMA).
The plea urged that the court direct the employees to call off the strike. Also, he has prayed for the court to call for records on the strike to find out the number of employees on strike and also if there have been any casualties due to such a strike.
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