Tripura: Expression of political belief is not criminal, Court orders reinstatement of worker fired over attending political rally

Supreme Court raps PSU for violation of equal pay for equal work, orders extension of Provident Fund benefits to contract workers

19 January 2020: Pawan Has Limited, a Public Service Undertaking (PSU) that provides helicopter services to the oil companies was pulled up by the Supreme Court for filing a petition against its employees’ union, Aviation Karmachari Sanghatana that had been seeking Provident Fund coverage for over 270 workers employed on contract. Justices U.U. Lalit and Indu Malhotra upheld the principles of equal pay for equal work and ruled that all employees who draw wages from a company directly or indirectly are entitled to the benefit of provident fund.

Tamil Nadu: Madras High Court pulls up Municipal Corporation for delaying compensation to family of deceased safai karmchari

18 January 2020: Madras High Court pulled up Trichy Municipal Corporation for delaying compensation to the kin of deceased safai karmchari Rajendran who was killed of asphyxiation in 2007. Municipal Corporation had denied compensation and employment to the wife of deceased on compassionate grounds on the basis of an anonymous complaint stating that Rajendran had wrongfully obtained the job on compassionate grounds after the death of his father, not revealing that his mother was still employed with the corporation. The Court has directed the municipal commissioner to disburse terminal benefits within twelve weeks.

Himachal Pradesh: Court directs GVK EMRI to hike workers’ wages

10 January 2020: A division bench of Chief Justice L Narayana Swami and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua ordered health service provider GVK EMRI (Emergency Research Institute), which runs ambulance services in the state to hike wages of its drivers and medical technicians by Rs. 1500/- per month. GVK EMRI workers had gone on strike against meager wages and unpaid overtime in 2017. Drivers and technicians are paid Rs. 11,350/- per month and their work hours extend to 12 hours per day. The court has further directed the labour authority to decide the dispute within six months.

Tripura: Expression of political belief is not criminal, Court orders reinstatement of worker fired over attending political rally

10 January 2020: In two landmark judgments on 9 and 10 January 2020, Tripura High Court has set aside charges filed against Lipika Paul who was suspended by the state government’s fisheries department for ‘participating in a political rally’ organised by the Left Front and making a Facebook post criticizing another party’s candidates. Her suspension occurred five days before her retirement on the claim that her action was violation of Rule 5 of the Tripura Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1988. The Court ruled that mere presence in a rally does not account for political participation and that restrictions do not govern government employees’ right to hold and express political beliefs.

Odisha: High Court orders compensation and rehabilitation of 14 families rescued from bonded labour

7 January 2020: A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanju Panda and Justice SK Sahoo issued a notice to the Principal Secretary of Panchayati Raj department, Dhenkanal Collector and Kamakhyanagar Sub-Collector to ensure the release of 14 persons in the Dhenkanal district, Odisha and provide them financial assistance of Rs. 20,000/- each. The 14 released were barbers and washermen from Gadagaonpur village employed in ‘bartan’, a customary practice leading to bondage of dalits wherein they are denied any monetary compensation and forced to work for 15 kg of paddy a year. Government had issued notices to abolish the practice in 2011, following direction from National Human Rights Commission due to violation of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.

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