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Patna HC Warns Of Contempt If Municipal Corporation Employees Don't Call Off Their Strike [Read Order]

12 Sep 2020 2:58 AM GMT
Patna HC Warns Of Contempt If Municipal Corporation Employees Dont Call Off Their Strike [Read Order]
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The Patna High Court on Friday took suo moto cognizance of the pitiable condition of the city on account of dumping of piles of garbage on its streets by the Municipal Corporation employees, who have declared an indefinite strike against non-regularization of their services.

Cautioning the employees of contempt proceedings, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar directed them call off the strike immediately and to resume/join their duties and report at their respective places of posting immediately.

The order was passed after Additional Advocate General Anjani Kumar told the Court that if garbage is not collected and disposed of immediately, it would become a health hazard and may lead to outbreak of another pandemic.

The Court had taken cognizance of several news reports, highlighting that sanitation workers in the state had resorted to an indefinite strike against government's decision to not avail the services of daily-wage laborers.

In this context, AAG Kumar had submitted that even assuming the demands of the workers to be genuine, still they cannot resort to such a measure of dumping garbage on the streets, which action is ex-facie contrary to the statutory provisions/contractual obligations.

Allegedly, the call for strike was given by an organization named as 'Patna Nagar Nigam Sanyukt Karmchari Samanwaya Samiti'.

In view of the circumstances, the Court has issued the following directions, violation whereof shall tantamount to contempt:

  • employees/workers of the Patna Municipal Corporation and more specifically members of the Patna Nagar Nigam Sanyukt Karmchari Samanwaya Samiti, shall forthwith call off their strike;
  • they shall immediately resume/join their duties and report at their respective places of posting;
  • they shall ensure that either directly or indirectly, no loss is caused to public property; allegedly tyres of 4000 vehicles stand deflated.
  • they shall immediately ensure that the garbage dumped on the roads/streets fallen within the municipal limits of Patna shall be collected and disposed of, as required under law/in terms of contractual obligations;
  • Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development shall convene a meeting with all the stakeholders including members of the Patna Nagar Nigam Sanyukt Karmchari Samanwaya Samiti or any other registered Union.
  • In any event, we direct that the unpaid salaries/wages of all the employees, be it regular/casual/daily of the Municipal Corporation, Patna, be positively released within next two working days. Allegedly dues for last four months are outstanding.
  • Let Municipal Commissioner, Patna Municipal Corporation file his affidavit within two weeks stating the outcome of the meeting. Also compliance with regard to release of wages/salary.

The matter is now listed for hearing on September 29, 2020.

The issue of regularization of sanitization workers was raised in February 2020, when the municipal workers went on strike. However, based on assurance of the corporation at that time, the agitation ended.

Last month, the High Court had warned doctors and health workers against calling strike.

Patna HC Warns Govt. Doctors Of Contempt If "Illegal" Strike Not Called Off

The Court expressed the strict view that during the time of current situation and circumstances prevalent as a result of Pandemic Covid-19, none of the functionaries empowered and authorised under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 can refrain from discharging their duties and functions, "more so by resorting to the mechanism of strike which perhaps may be illegal".

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