The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the state government to make sufficient arrangements to ensure that the normal life in the city isn’t paralysed due to the indefinite strike proposed by the taxi and auto-rickshaw unions from August 29.
“Needless to say that the normal life of common man should not be disturbed because of such strikes,” said the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak while issuing the directive to the state.
The judges also said that there was no doubt that the auto and taxi drivers must take permission from statutory authorities and police department before executing the strike, as it will disturb normal traffic.
These observations came in the wake on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Pravin Upadhyay, complaining about the proposed strike called by auto and taxis unions on August 29. He pointed out that earlier, auto and black-and-yellow taxis unions had resorted to a similar strike on June 21, demanding a blanket ban on cab aggregators like Uber and Ola and it resulted in disruption of normal life across Mumbai. He further pointed out that violence was also reported on the day and seven drivers were arrested by the police. The lawyer expressed apprehension that Mumbaikars may be compelled to face similar situation and inconvenience starting August 29.
In his PIL, Upadhyay also stated that the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA), 2011, has been enacted by the state to safeguard the interest of public at large and ensure unrestricted essential services, which includes public transport.
Time and again, auto and taxi unions across the city have resorted to strikes for fulfilment of their demands, thus paralysing the city and inconveniencing Mumbaikars by violating the provisions of the 2011 enactment. However, the government is yet to initiate action against the offenders, the PIL added.