Chennai

Madras High Court sets aside disbanding of village workers’ post

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The judgment would benefit nearly 13,000 workers who had fought a legal battle since the government disbanded the posts on November 8, 2011.

In a blow to the AIADMK government, the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed it to consider creating posts in the name of Makkal Nala Paniyalargal (village-level workers) or in any other name to sensitise the people to the evils of liquor consumption.

If this is not possible, the workers who were thrown out of job should be accommodated in vacancies in government schools, local bodies, taluk offices, the Collectorates, various other government offices and government-owned undertakings. Or, they should be accommodated in posts created for implementing new schemes announced in the 2014-15 budget, according to their qualification without reference to their age.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and M. Sathyanarayanan said the exercise should start immediately and be completed by October 31. If any of the eligible workers could not be accommodated, the government should pay the last drawn salary from November 1 this year till they were accommodated in any post.

The judgment would benefit nearly 13,000 workers who had fought a legal battle since the government disbanded the posts on November 8, 2011. The workers were appointed during the DMK rule.

The Bench was passing orders on appeals by the government and petitions by individuals/associations. The Supreme Court remitted the appeals to the High Court. The petitions sought to quash the November 8 G.O. and to absorb the ousted workers in suitable posts.

Advocate-General A.L. Somayaji said the government, considering the duties of the workers and the financial implications, decided not to continue the post.

P. Wilson, senior counsel for the Tamil Nadu Makkal Nala Paniyalargal Munnetra Sangam, said the government disbanded the post, without considering the long years of the service put in by the workers.

The Bench upheld the procedure followed for the appointment of these workers. The government disbanded the post even before the expiry of the term (May 31, 2012), without considering the duties of these workers such as propagating adult education, encouraging small savings, creating awareness among people of the evils of drinking and ensuring rural sanitation. The government had not achieved 100 per cent rural sanitation, adult education and small savings, and reduction in liquor consumption. The government earned over Rs. 21,600 crore through liquor sales by employing 29,000 persons. Propagating the evils of liquor was the government’s constitutional obligation. Liquor ruined the lives of the people. Several accidents were caused by drunken driving. But a paltry Rs. 1 crore was being spent on a campaign against liquor consumption. The campaign should continue with more vigour, the court said.

The State government decided to open hotels offering subsidised food, medical shops and seed farms and sell bottled water, salt, provisions and vegetables. More than three lakh were employed in the government and its undertakings. Hence, it might not be difficult to accommodate these workers in vacant posts, the Bench said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:05:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/madras-high-court-sets-aside-disbanding-of-village-workers-post/article6333797.ece

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