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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Strike, mourning can’t be indefinite: HC on MSRTC employees’ protest

🔴 Court asks MSRTC to intimate staffers on contempt proceedings

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
December 23, 2021 12:47:46 am
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation MSRTC, BOMBAY High Court, MSRTC strike, Mumbai news, Mumbai city news, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Maharashtra government, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsAllowing MSRTC's counsel to file an additional affidavit, the court sought compliance of its directives by January 5, 2022. (File)

THE BOMBAY High Court on Wednesday said that while the death of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees is always painful, there cannot be indefinite mourning or strike, as the end result is non-plying of buses, which is the most convenient and reasonable mode of transport for a large number of people.

After it was informed by the counsel of the employees that many staffers have not resumed work as they are in mourning and not on strike, the HC directed the MSRTC to publish notices in all its 250 depots, intimating employees about the pending contempt petition and the court’s earlier orders.

A division bench of Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Shriram M Modak was hearing a contempt plea filed in connection to a writ petition moved by the MSRTC against the employees’ trade union and others, seeking direction that all staffers should refrain from participating in strikes and stopping work.

Senior advocate S U Kamdar, appearing for MSRTC, said the corporation is appealing to the employees to resume work, as their only demand yet to be sanctioned is of the merger with the state government. “However, in Maharashtra, there are number of state corporations and merger of one such corporation can result in serious repercussions on employees of other corporations… and there will be financial implications of the same. Therefore, a committee will ascertain the viability of demand…,” he added.

The court said that while there is no conclusive preliminary opinion on the issue of merger, the committee can be permitted to continue with the process in the stipulated period (three-month deadline as per November 8 order).

Advocate Gunaratan Sadavarte, appearing for the employees, said that while a large number of them are facing depression and most have developed suicidal tendencies, MSRTC is threatening them with departmental action. However, the HC said that it cannot pass an opinion on this regard, as it does not possess expertise in the same.

“With all humility and respect we may state that loss of human lives is always painful and mourning is natural, but there cannot be a stage of indefinite mourning either in the life of person or community or societal or in organizational life and one has to move in life,” the HC said.

Allowing MSRTC’s counsel to file an additional affidavit, the court sought compliance of its directives by January 5, 2022.

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