Himachal High Court today came down heavily on striking Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) for willfully defying its orders, saying they should “bear the consequences of their action” failing which the court orders would be “conveniently” ignored or flouted by all.
The court refused to accept “oral apology” tendered by the employee leaders through their counsel.
A division bench of High Court consisting of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Sandeep Sharma passed the orders on a petition filed by the government that the HRTC employees went on strike despite its directive on June 13 and 14 not to do so.
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“Breach on the part of the respondents is willful and blatant which was observed even in the order passed by this court yesterday,” the bench said.
“It is clear that the respondents, who have absolutely no regard for the orders of the court must be made to bear the consequences of their action, otherwise all the parties would conveniently ignore or flout the orders of the Courts,” the bench said.
“Since all the striking employees despite the directions of the court have not joined back on duty by calling off the strike, the apology at this stage cannot be accepted.
“Apology is an act of contrition and unless it is offered in good grace, the apology is shorn of penitence and hence it is liable to be rejected,” it observed.
The court further said that “If the apology is offered at the time when the contemnor finds that the court is going to impose punishment it ceases to be an apology and becomes an act of a cringing coward.”
It said “the apology is not a weapon of defence to purge the guilty of their offence nor is it intended to operate as universal panacea, but it is intended to be evidence of real contriteness.”
The court said the petitioners have supplied a list of the employees who had gone on strike and they are ordered to be arrayed.