Govt Employees Have No Right To Strike: Kerala High Court

Govt Employees Have No Right To Strike: Kerala High Court
Govt Employees Have No Right To Strike: Kerala High Court

A 48-hour nationwide shutdown was recently called by trade unions. On Monday, The Kerala high court barred government employees from participating in the same. The court asked the government to issue an order immediately.  The court said that the strike is against service rules and hence has asked the government employees to not come under the ambit of workers and their participation in the strike.

The Petition

A division bench of Chief Justice S Mani Kumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly, which was hearing a petition of activist Chandrachoodan Nair, observed that the employees’ participation in the strike is illegal. It added they will be ineligible for pay for the days they abstain from work. The court directed the government to declare no work, no pay. Employees absent in such cases were earlier considered to be on leave and given full pay.

The participation of government employees in the strike was asked to be declared unconstitutional. The government was accussed by him for encouraging employees to stay away from work. He added it would later tweak norms to ensure full salaries.

The government cannot pay employees for remaining absent during the strike, said the court.

The state law department has sought advice from the director-general of prosecutions and is likely to move the Supreme Court against the high court order.

The courts observations were then called unfortunate by All India Trade Union Congress leader K P Rajendran. He said that rather than issuing directions to the poor workers, it could have directed the Union government.

Disruption Of Normal Life Post Strike

The shutdown was enforced in many places in Kerala, which in turn disrupted normal life in Kerala. In the state capital, event of blocking the magistrate’s vehicle was noticed. Following this, Pettah station house officer was summoned by the court and was ordered to file cases against protestors.In another event, a cancer patient was allegedly forced out of an auto-rickshaw in Pappanamcode. Stray incidences of violence and stone- throwing were reported.

Almost all government offices and businesses remained shut. Only 32 out of 4,824 employees reported to work at the state secretariat, people aware of the matter said. They included the chief secretary. But rail traffic remained unaffected. The state’s main IT parks also functioned normally. The two-day strike commenced on Sunday at midnight. It will continue till Tuesday midnight.

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