Bombay HC pulls up MSRTC workers' union for going ahead with strike despite court directive
Mumbai, Nov 4: The Bombay High Court on Thursday rapped a union of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers for going ahead with its strike, despite the court's order restraining it from doing so.
A vacation bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade directed the union's leader Ajaykumar Gujjar to remain personally present in the court on November 5 and explain why action should not be initiated against him for wilfully disobeying the court's orders.
The High Court had on Wednesday restrained workers' unions from going ahead with the strike. In the order passed on the MSRTC's petition, the court had observed, "Keeping in mind the immense hardship and inconvenience that will be caused to the members of the public who have fixed their travel plans through MSRTC buses during the festive days, we direct the Respondents i.e., all the employees of the MSRTC to refrain from proceeding with the proposed rally/strike/stoppage of work from midnight of November 3 and/or thereafter, until further orders."
On Thursday, the bench was informed by the state transport body that despite the court's order, Maharashtra Rajya Kanishth Vetanshreni ST Karmachari Sanghatana - the union led by Gujjar - had gone ahead with the strike.
The court then directed the said union to call off the strike immediately and posted the matter for further hearing on Friday. "Ajaykumar Gujjar is also directed to remain present before this Court on November 5 at 2.30 pm, along with his affidavit, failing which the Court shall be constrained to pass necessary orders to ensure his presence before this Court including issuing a warrant of arrest against him," the bench said.
On October 29, on a plea by the MSRTC, the industrial court had restrained the Maharashtra State Transport Kamgar Sanghatana and 26 others employees' unions of the MSRTC from proceeding with the illegal strike until further orders. The industrial court had also issued notices to the respondents and kept the matter for further hearing on November 15.
Pending this, the workers' union sent the notice to the MSRTC on Wednesday that they would be going ahead with their strike from midnight of Wednesday and Thursday, unless the transport body gives them a written assurance that its staffers will be treated as employees of the state government. The transport body claimed that the unions' move was illegal and was an attempt to blackmail the MSRTC, which is required to run buses to enable citizens to reach different destinations during the festive season. As there wasn't sufficient time to approach the industrial court, whose order was being breached, the MSRTC had moved the High Court. All the other workers' unions called off the strike except the one led by Gujjar. PTI SP ARU ARU