Transport strike: Not the right time for it, says HC

Observing that it is not the right time for anybody to go on strike, the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday said that the strike by employees of four public transport corporations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic violates the fundamental rights of other citizens.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj, while hearing a batch of PIL petitions pointing to sufferings of the public due to the strike, said that it is perhaps the “worst time” to take recourse to strike even if the demands are assumed to be legitimate.

Taking note of the fact that bus services offered by the four transport corporations appear to be the cheapest mode of transport available for the people, the Bench said that bus services are very essential for vital needs of people, particularly to travel to vaccination centres, and to go to their workplaces, when the State is facing surge in COVID-19 cases and related fatalities.

“We are not on the legality or illegality of the strike but we are concerned with the difficulties faced by the citizens,” the Bench said while observing that it “hopes and trusts that without prejudice to their demands the employees would resume the operation of buses services so that the common man, who is already under huge stress due to the pandemic, is not put to further hardship.”

Stating that the issue will have to be resolved at the earliest in public interest, the Bench adjourned further hearing till April 22 while ordering issue of notices to the State, the employees’ unions and the four public transport corporations.

The Bench orally observed that early resolution to the issue could be attempted through mediation.

Earlier, State Advocate-General Prabhuling K. Navadgi told the Bench that the labour court has already declared the strike as illegal, and several actions have been initiated against the employees on strike. He also pointed out that number of schedules of the four corporations is gradually on the rise but a large number of buses are still off the roads.

The A-G indicated that the government is unlikely to accept the demand of the employees for absorption into government services as the demand is ‘unreasonable’

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 3:26:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/transport-strike-not-the-right-time-for-it-says-hc/article34367579.ece

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