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Contempt notice to oil firm’s top officials

The Bombay High Court has issued a contempt of court notice to the chairman and managing director (CMD) of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), R S Sharma and director (offshore) of the public sector undertaking, S Vasudev, for allegedly committing breach of an award.

mumbai Updated: Feb 22, 2010 01:31 IST
HT Correspondent

The Bombay High Court has issued a contempt of court notice to the chairman and managing director (CMD) of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), R S Sharma and director (offshore) of the public sector undertaking, S Vasudev, for allegedly committing breach of an award.

A single judge bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre has given the two executives four weeks to give reasons for not initiating a contempt of court order against them.

In July 2006, while deciding on an employment dispute raised by catering personnel employed in offshore vessels, a statutory tribunal had extended benefits of wages, perks and service protection to them as seamen.

A number of private ship owners and the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI)

have implemented the award (order of the tribunal) long back.

ONGC, which owns offshore vessels, has not implemented the award, following which the Forward Seamen’s Union of India moved a contempt petition through their lawyer Jane Cox.

In the contempt petition, the Union cited the case of a catering manager who was employed on an ONGC’s vessel Sagar Sandani, to highlight the plight of catering personnel.

The catering manger, A Fernandes, had gone missing on October 10, 2003 but ONGC treated him as a person who never existed.

His widow has still not been paid any compensation despite the Central government’s intervention.

Prior to the award, the catering personnel were treated as contract workers in the vessels and were paid much lower wages compared with other seamen and not given any employment benefit.