On Tuesday, the Karnataka High Court observed that it was the worst time for the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees to go on strike as the state reports a surge in COVID-19 cases. The court further told the employees of the four-state run transport corporations to immediately resume bus operations, so that the common man does not suffer, reported, The New Indian Express.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindraj was hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) filed against the strike. The court issued notice to the state government, RTCs and the employeeâ€™s union.
The High Court said that they hope that without compromising on the Unionâ€™s demands, the employees of the four RTCs - KSRTC, BMTC, NEKRTC, NWKRTC- should come forward and operate buses immediately so that common man donâ€™t suffer anymore.
According to a Deccan Herald report, Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi said that the union had demanded that the employees be declared government staff and this was unviable. Further, he informed the court that necessary action against the employees had been taken.
However, the court noted that it was not speaking on the legitimacy or the correctness of the unionâ€™s demands. But it pointed out that the strike coming in the midst of the pandemic was against the fundamental rights of citizens, violating Article 21 of Constitution (No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law). The High Court observed that the state-run buses are the cheapest form of transport and its services are most needed as people have to report to duty and go to vaccination centres.
Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, the honorary president of KSRTC Employees League, speaking to the media said that they havenâ€™t received any notice from the High Court. He further said, â€śAfter getting the notice, a decision will be taken keeping in mind the interests of the employees and after taking the opinion of district leaders and the legal team.â€ť He also said that until then the indefinite strike will continue.
The employees belonging to four RTCs of Karnataka had been on strike since April 7 demanding that their wages had to be provided as per the recommendation of the Sixth Pay Commission. However, the government has been insisting that it is an unviable demand as the corporations are running under losses due to the pandemic