HC pulls up Kerala for allowing govt employees to participate in Bharat Bandh

The two-day strike by the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions is to protest against "the anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national policies" of the Union government.
People taking out a rally in Thiruvananthapuram as part of the Bharat Bandh
People taking out a rally in Thiruvananthapuram as part of the Bharat Bandh
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The Kerala High Court on Monday, March 28, directed the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to issue orders prohibiting its employees from abstaining from work as part of the two-day nationwide strike. The two-day nationwide bandh — on March 28 and 29 — by various trade unions are against the Union government’s ‘anti-people’ policies.

The interim direction was issued by a bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by one Chandra Chooden Nair S. The order was confirmed by advocate Sajith Kumar V who appeared for the petitioner in the matter. He said that the court was of the view that the strike by the government servants was illegal as the same is prohibited under their service rules.

The bench pointed out that the Kerala Service Rules are very clear on a strike by government employees. The petitioner told the court that even when the employees do not turn up for duty they are paid as no order was passed by the government where a 'no work no pay' rule would prevail.

The petitioner, in his plea, has contended that the state was encouraging its employees to go on strike against the Union government by paying them salary for the days when they abstain from work.  A joint forum of central trade unions had given a call for a nationwide strike to protest against government policies affecting workers, farmers and people. Starting from midnight on Monday, the 48-hour protest has brought practically all activities in the state to a grinding halt.

State-run KSRTC buses did not operate while taxis, auto-rickshaws and private buses kept away from the roads across the state. Commercial vehicles including trucks and lorries are also not plying, expressing solidarity with the strike. However, essential services including delivery of milk and newspapers, hospitals, ambulances etc. were not affected.

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