Monday, Nov 28, 2022

MSRTC workers’ strike: Bombay HC asks state to set up high-level committee

The workers have been demanding that they be treated as state government employees. The court has now directed them to withdraw the strike once the panel is set up.

The HC noted that Government Resolution (GR) notifying formation of the said committee will be issued by 3 pm Monday, a meeting of committee will be held at 4 pm and the minutes will be placed before the court at 5 pm. (File)

The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the state government to constitute a high-level committee comprising Additional Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary of the state Finance department, Additional Chief Secretary of the Transport Department, and MD of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) as the coordinator of the panel to amicably resolve the issue pertaining to MSRTC workers’ demand to be treated as employees of the state government.

A vacation bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade was hearing a plea by MSRTC against Sangharsh ST Kamgar Sanghatana, an employees’ trade union, along with others seeking direction to all staffers to refrain from participating in proposed strikes from the midnight of November 3.

The bench noted in its order, “Admittedly, the demand of the workers of the MSRTC is that they should be treated as employees of the State Government. For this reason, workers of MSRTC, as stated in our earlier orders, are on strike. Though by our earlier orders we have directed the workers to resume their duties and the order has been breached, an attempt has been made to amicably resolve the above issue raised by the workers by requesting the government to sympathetically consider the demand of the workers of the MSRTC.”

“Upon such a report being submitted to this court, all contentions of the parties are kept open,” the bench said, and directed that the entire exercise be completed within twelve weeks and the committee shall inform its progress every fortnight.

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The HC noted that Government Resolution (GR) notifying formation of the said committee will be issued by 3 pm Monday, a meeting of committee will be held at 4 pm and the minutes will be placed before the court at 5 pm. It added that the committee shall fix the next meeting date within ten days thereafter.

The HC, on Wednesday, had directed MSRTC employees to refrain from proceeding with the proposed rallies/strikes or stoppage of work from the midnight of November 3 until further orders. The court said the move would cause “hardships” to travellers who rely on state transport buses during the festival season.

On Thursday, the MSRTC submitted that despite the HC order, 59 out of 250 depots were non-functional due to the strike, therefore no buses plied from these depots, depriving commuters of services during the festival. Thereafter, the HC issued notice to a union leader and warned of stern action.


The court, with the assistance and suggestions of parties and their lawyers, formed a committee with the MSRTC Managing Director as its coordinator, who will not have powers in decision-making.

The HC said the panel shall hear the representatives of 28 trade unions and representatives of MSRTC and thereafter submit their decision/recommendation to the Chief Minister, who will then submit his views on the recommendations.

The bench noted that none present before it has raised any objection to its order and said, “Upon such minutes reaching the court at 5.00 pm before us and being perused by all the advocates present before us, the unions representing the employees of MSRTC shall forthwith withdraw the strike/agitation and resume their duties.”

First published on: 08-11-2021 at 02:10:08 pm
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