Staff Reporter

"It is a clear instance of violation of human rights"

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has criticised the "inhumane" working conditions of the educated youth employed in liquor shops run by the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited.

Allowing a batch of writ petitions moved by six retrenched employees, engaged on a contract basis, from Madurai and Theni districts, Justice P. Jyothimani said: "The entire facts and circumstances would reveal the shocking reality of exploitation of unemployed graduates who are made to work for a paltry Rs.3, 000 per month, from 8 a.m. to 12 midnight... " Though the employer claimed that these youth took up the job only after being told of the terms and conditions, the judge said: "In my view, it is a clear instance of not only human exploitation but also a clear case of violation of human rights as far as the terms and conditions, especially relating to the period of work, are concerned." The petitioners, working as supervisors of bars attached to the liquor shops, were removed from service for not performing their duties to the satisfaction of their superiors, and they also forfeited the security deposits of Rs.50, 000 they had given while joining duty.

On perusing the explanations given by the petitioners during a departmental enquiry, the judge found that every one had given a gloomy reason for not coming to the bar on time. "... since the relationship of the petitioners with the respondents has strained... I am of the view that instead of reinstatement, they may be adequately compensated by directing the respondents to return the amount of security deposit," the judge said.

The amount was ordered returned with a 12 per cent interest per annum from the date of deposit. A sum of Rs.10, 000 in cost was imposed on officials. It should be paid to the Chief Justice Relief Fund.