Special Correspondent

AIADMK government had made a move to appoint drivers and conductors

  • It is a statutory obligation: court
  • Hundreds of transport staff had lost jobs

    CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has upheld the legal validity of a July 2006 Government Order, which gives first preference to appointing bus drivers and conductors who served in transport corporations since 1997 but were retrenched later.

    Passing orders on a batch of writ petitions for and against the order, Justice P. Jyothimani said: "It is clear that the Corporations are bound to give re-employment to those persons, who were earlier employed in these Corporations and were retrenched from service... Taking into consideration the avowed object of the Industrial Disputes Act, the purport of the impugned Government Order dated July 13, 2006, is perfectly in accordance with the statutory obligations."

    Hundreds of workmen, who had lost their jobs since 1997, had moved the court seeking re-employment and challenging the AIADMK Government's move to employ over 2,000 drivers and conductors in February 2006. Though candidates were selected, appointment orders could not be issued in view of the Assembly elections. The Chief Electoral Officer had intervened and directed the Government that the appointments should not be made.

    The impugned order was passed by the present Government citing the mandatory re-employment provision in Section 25(H) of the ID Act as well as a Division Bench judgment, holding that the retrenched employees were entitled to preferential treatment for appointment to future vacancies.

    In his 147-page order, Mr. Justice Jyothimani said transport corporations were estopped from recruiting new candidates when qualified retrenched workmen were available.

    Referring to Section 25(H), he said that there was a "statutory compulsion" and requirement under the provision to accord preference only to retrenched workers.

    "It is clear that the Corporations are bound to give re-employment to those persons who were earlier employed in the Corporations and retrenched from service later."

    Citing the Tamil Nadu Industrial Disputes Rules 1958, the judge, however, set aside Clause 3 of the GO, as per which employees retrenched from 1997 alone were eligible for re-employment. Mr. Justice Jyothimani said the re-employment right applied to all retrenched workmen who were earlier employed.

    More In: Today's Paper