Forced to attend Territorial Army camp: WR motormen in HC

Their lawyer Ramesh Ramamurthy said they had written to the Railway Minister on the issue but got no response.

Written by NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE | Published: September 18, 2012 12:49 am

Their lawyer Ramesh Ramamurthy said they had written to the Railway Minister on the issue but got no response

A GROUP of motormen employed with the Western Railways have approached the Bombay High Court claiming that they were forced to enroll themselves in the territorial army during their training in Mumbai.

The petitioners,62 motormen,had cleared the Railway Recruitment Board Examination in 2009. They work on the suburban trains of the Western Railway (WR).

“During the course of training at Mahalaxmi,the petitioners were coerced and pressurised to fill up the enrollment form of the territorial army on the threat of termination,” the petition states.

They claim that they were sent to an annual camp at Kota,Rajasthan,for this purpose.

The territorial army is an organisation of persons who are given military training for a few days in a year and who provide assistance to the regular army and also help the army in situations of natural calamities.

The petitioners contend that the organisation is an entirely voluntary force and that there is no provision for forcible enrollment to it. Their lawyer Ramesh Ramamurthy said they had also written to the Railway Minister citing their grievance,but got no response.

The plea was mentioned before a Division Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A A Sayed on Monday and will be heard on Tuesday.

According to the petitioners,one of the motormen has an orthopaedic problem that would declare him unfit for enrollment to the territorial army,in spite of which he was sent for training.

The motormen demand that the High Court should declare the action of the railways of compulsorily enrolling them for the territorial army as illegal. They also seek the creation of a discharge board for the purposes of allowing them to de-list themselves from the territorial army.

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