The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre and state government to consider a plea to provide economic stimulus packages for employees of private and unorganised sectors who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy gave a direction to this effect while disposing of a PIL petition from advocate S Kalimuthu Mylavan.
The PIL prayed for a direction to the state and central governments to consider petitioner's April 16 representation to constitute high-level committees at state and national levels to sanction stimulus packages to workers in the private and unorganised sectors, who have lost jobs and suffered pay cuts, as was being done in the UK and US.
The petitioner submitted that it is the fundamental right of the citizens to work and the national lockdown announced by the governments was a restriction imposed on them, curbing their right to work and right to livelihood guaranteed under the Constitution.
The monetary loss suffered by employees in private and unorganised sectors and in private educational institutions and industrial establishments due to the partial or complete lockdown under the Disaster Management Act will have to be compensated by the governments by framing and implementing a scheme in the form of economic stimulus packages.
The details of such employees will be available with the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation, the petitioner added and prayed that the governments constitute high-level committees at state and national levels to save the citizens.
No one can fight against nature: HC
In another hearing on Tuesday, the Madras High Court questioned Tamil Nadu government on whether it has learnt a lesson from the pandemic. "Have you not learnt a lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic? Has it not advised you not to fight with nature?" the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy asked.
These were the questions posed by the court when a public interest writ petition from a devotee of Sriranganatha Swamy temple in Srirangam in Tiruchirappalli, praying for a direction to the State to file a report on the protection of shrine elephants, came up for hearing on Tuesday.
As per Rule 4(4) of the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, an elephant must be maintained by the same mahout and cavady (mahout's assistant) during its entire lifespan.
However, it was flouted by the temple management by ousting the services of the mahout, the petitioner said. After asking the HR&CE department to ensure that the temple elephants are treated humanely and with dignity across the state, the bench directed the department to file a status report on the implementation of the rules.