Observing that deprivation salary to employees is violative of their rights under Article 21, 23 and 300A of the Constitution, the Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday asked the State Government to expeditiously convene a meeting in order to resolve the issue of payment of salaries to State Transport Corporation employees.
"Considering the fact that these employees do not belong to the upper echelon of the Corporation, and are mere workers, as most of them happen to be drivers, conductors, and other employees, it is surprising that both the Corporation, and the State Government have abandoned them out in the cold. Needless to say, the deprivation of the salary is violative of Articles 21, 23 and 300-A of the Constitution of India. Thus, neither the Corporation, nor the State Government can be permitted to deprive the employees of their rightful salaries, that too, month after month," a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma observed.
It emphasized that State's decision to defer 50% of the employees' salary for the coming months is violative of Article 23 of the Constitution and tantamounts to an offense being committed.
The Bench also asked the Centre to play a proactive role in resolving the issues between State of Uttar Pradesh and State of Uttarakhand within a period of two to three months in order to facilitate payment of amount due from former to the latter.
"..it is hoped that the meeting of the Hon'ble Cabinet would be convened as expeditiously as possible, so as to resolve the financial crises being faced by the Corporation. After all, the employees cannot be abandoned either by the State of Uttarakhand, or by the Corporation," the Court said.
An affidavit was submitted by the Transport Secretary stating that an amount of Rs. 23 Crores was released to the Corporation on June 29 by way of which salaries of employees for the month of February along with contractual employees up to the month of March was disbursed.
It was also submitted that the Chief Minister has approved the release of Rs. 34 Crores from the State Contingency Fund to the Transport Corporation.
Directing the Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary, Transport Secretary and Managing Director of the Corporation to be present before the Court on next date of hearing, the matter was adjourned to August 4.
The development came after the Court had last month directed that an amount of Rs. 23 Crores be immediately transferred to the State Transport Corporation for the purpose of payment of its Employees' salary for the month of February and March this year.
Title: WRIT PETITION (PIL) NO. 82 OF 2019