The Bombay high court has backed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's decision to deny Diwali bonus to nearly 40,000 employees who participated in a flash strike on September 19 and 20.
“Prima facie, the corporation (BMC) was justified in denying ex-gratia payment to those employees who participated in the strike,” justice Rajesh Ketkar observed while striking down an interim order issued by the Industrial Court directing BMC to pay the ex-gratia of Rs11,000 to each of its employees, including those who participated in the strike.
The high court felt such an action was necessary for maintaining discipline in the civic establishment, since the corporation is under a statutory obligation to provide civic amenities to the citizens.
“Otherwise, it will amount to putting premium on the wrong doer,” justice Rajesh Ketkar said while adding that the Industrial Court was wrong in issuing the interim order.
The civic administration had decided not to pay ex-gratia (Diwali bonus) to nearly 40,000 civic employees who participated in the flash strike. The Municipal Mazdoor Union, led by NCP leader Sharad Rao, had challenged the decision before the Industrial Court, which, on October 20, passed the interim order.
The BMC challenged the Industrial Court's order in the high court, which observed that nearly 40,000 civic employees went on a flash strike despite a restraining order from Industrial Court, issued on September 17, prohibiting them from participating in any strike.
With the high court's latest order, all the civic employees who participated in the strike will have to wait for the final decision of the Industrial Court. If the Industrial Court holds that the strike was illegal, the employees who joined the strike may not get any ex-gratia payment for this financial year.