Mangaluru

Victory for Akku and Leela, at last

Akku (left) and Leela worked for several years without salary. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Akku (left) and Leela worked for several years without salary. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.  

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After 42 years, the State government has regularised the services of Akku and Leela, who worked as scavenger/sweeper at the Government Women Teachers’ Training Institute here.

They started working with a salary of Rs. 15. Orders from the government to regularise the services of temporary employees who served for over 10 years prior to 1984 were disregarded in the case of Ms. Akku and Ms. Leela.

They were removed from their jobs in 1998 for approaching the Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF). They continued to work without pay till 2011.

Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of HRPF, told presspersons here on Friday that the State government issued an order on July 8, regularising the services of Ms. Akku and Ms. Leela from the dates they joined their services.

They will also get all eligible benefits up to their superannuation.

The Supreme Court had directed the government to regularise their services in January 2010. The HRPF, which was fighting on their behalf, had questioned the attitude of the government for not obeying the orders of the Supreme Court for four years. It filed a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court in June 2012. The government opted for an initial payment of Rs 2.11 lakh in December 2013, and Rs. 3.68 lakh in January 2014 to Ms. Akku and Ms. Leela.

On July 4, the Supreme Court issued a final warning giving a week to the government to comply with its order. Accordingly, an order was issued to pay their dues. The Supreme Court has disposed of the contempt petition consequent to the government’s action.

“Without interest, the dues for each one of them come to about Rs. 30 lakh. But we will want the government to pay both of them the interest as well,” Dr. Shanbhag said.

Ms. Akku said that she was delighted that she would finally get her full salary with all the benefits after so many years. All their legal battle at the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court were fought by the HRPF. “But it is all due to Dr. Shanbhag’s efforts, I did not spend a single paisa for all these legal battles,” she said.

Ms. Leela, who is severely ill, was not present. “I am glad at least the money will help Ms. Leela to bear her health expenses,” Dr. Shanbhag said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:50:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/victory-for-akku-and-leela-at-last/article6228054.ece

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