Directive a relief to staff who’ve been out of work since 2002

The High Court on Thursday provided a ray of hope to employees of Mysore Lamp Works Ltd., the public sector undertaking that has been shut since 2002, directing the State government to float a global tender to revive the company.

The court observed that the State government had shown synergy in reviving the company, to benefit employees who are presently without any work. “It is appropriate to direct the State government to float a global tender inviting bids for revival of lamp industry, though in the form of manufacture of light emitting diodes (LED), which will be useful not only to the private sector but also to the public sector,” it said.

In his order, Justice Ram Mohan Reddy said the State government was at liberty to impose such conditions as it may think fit while inviting tenders.

On January 4, 2002, the government had issued order for closing the company. At that time, around 1,600 workmen were on its rolls. Now, there are around 100 employees on the company’s rolls.

The closure order was the result of recommendations made by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) and Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR), given that the company had incurred loss of nearly Rs. 90 crore from 1993 to 2002.

However, Mysore Lamp Staff and Employees’ Union challenged the closure order before the Karnataka High Court in a writ petition, which was allowed by a single judge ruling on January 14, 2012, by setting aside the closure order.

The High Court had remanded the issue of closure back to the government for fresh consideration after hearing the views of the employees. The court had found that the government heard neither the employees nor the union prior to issuing the closure order. The judge did not go into the merits of the recommendations as BIFR had referred the matter to the company court for initiating the winding up process.

However, the State government had filed an appeal against this order before a Division Bench and the appeal is still pending.

Meanwhile, the High Court, on its company court jurisdiction, was hearing the case referred from BIFR. The government has also proposed to launch a technology park project on 22 acres of land held by the company.

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