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Allahabad High Court Irked Over Ongoing UP Power Workers Strike, Issues Bailable Warrant Against Union Leaders

Sparsh Upadhyay
18 March 2023 7:22 AM GMT
Allahabad High Court, UP Power Workers Strike, power supply disruption, contempt, bailable warrant, union leaders, Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Vinod Diwaker,

Image by: Ziaa Rizvi

The Allahabad High Court on Friday expressed its displeasure over the ongoing strike by the Uttar Pradesh electricity department employees despite the court's December 2022 order that the power supply should not be disrupted due to the strike by the employees.

Issuing contempt proceedings against the Employees' Association and its office bearers, the bench of Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Vinod Diwaker observed that even if there is a substance in the demand raised by the workers, yet, the entire State cannot be put to severe constraints by jeopardizing overwhelming public interest.

"Such act of workers violates the direction of this court for not disrupting power supply. Even national interest is compromised on account of the reduction in the generation of power in different power-generating units of the State. Thus, Prima facie disobedience of this court's order dated 06.12.2022 is indicated," the Court further remarked.

With this, considering the urgency of the matter, the High Court issued bailable warrants against the office bearers of the Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukt Sangarsh Samiti (VKSSS) by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lucknow requiring their presence before the court at 10 am on March 20.

The warrants were issued as the court noted that despite serving of notices upon the Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti through the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lucknow, none had entered an appearance on their behalf, in the petition, till now

It may be noted that the 27 lacs electricity workers in the State went on a three-day strike on March 16 night which led to the disruption of the power supply across the state. The situation was apprised to the Court that the strikes are in violation of the court's December 6, 2022 order that the power supply not be disrupted.

It may be noted that the HC's December 2022 order was made upon being apprised of the disruption of power supply in Prayagraj, on account of a strike by the employees of State Power/Electricity Units. Cognizance was also taken with regard to similar disruption in other districts of the State, later and several directions were issued by the Court.

Now, on March 17, when the matter was mentioned before the Court that the strikes have been called due to which the power supply is disrupted, the Court took up the matter and made some stern remarks.

Before the Court, copies of newspaper reports were also filed before the Court to show that even in the Electricity Sub-Station which caters to the High Court Premises also, there are no employees available and it is the Magistrate and police personnel who are guarding the Sub-Station and managing the supply of electricity.

The Court was also informed that the Board Examinations are going on in almost all districts of the State and the strike call by the Employees' Union, contrary to the directions issued in the present PIL not only violates the orders passed in the present petition but has the effect of virtually obstructing all spheres of activity in the State of Uttar Pradesh including the working of courts.

It was also urged that on account of the strike call the generation of power in Anpara and Obra units of Thermal Power Corporation has also been severely curtailed. The employees of the Electricity Department are also not available in the State Load Dispatch Centre, which controls the power grid.

Against the backdrop of these submissions, calling it a serious situation requiring an immediate attention, the bench, finding the act of employees in violation of the court's order, observed thus:

"Since the Employees' Association has not entered appearance despite the previous orders passed by this Court and service of notice upon it, we are left with no option but to issue notices to the Employees' Association and its office bearers for initiation of contempt proceedings against them."

Further, the State authorities were also directed to ensure that appropriate action as may be permissible in law be taken against the erring officials/employees so as to ensure compliance with the previous orders passed by this court on 06.12.2022, and report compliance with the action taken in the matter by then.


Counsel for Petitioner: Suo Moto, Gaurav Bishan, R.K. Shahi, R.P.S. Chauhan, Ravindra Kumar Tripathi, Tripurari Pal

Counsel for Respondent: C.S.C., Krishna Agarawal

Case title - In Re Disruption Of Power Supply In Prayagraj vs. State Of U.P. Through Additional Chief Secretary Power U.P. Government And Others [PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL) No. - 2349 of 2022]

Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 99

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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