Karnataka HC asks RTCs to expeditiously decide on employee appeals

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the four public road transport corporations (RTCs) in the State to expeditiously decide on the appeal against the suspension of over 3,000 employees in connection with the recent strike.

The court allowed the Karnataka State Transport Employees’ League (KSTEL) to file common appeals for each division of the RTCs on behalf of the suspended employees of that particular division. It asked the RTCs to ensure that the appellate authorities decide on such appeals within two weeks.

In the case of dismissed employees, the court said the appellate authorities should decide on the pleas against their dismissal within two months. On those transferred to different divisions following the strike, the court said the employees and the league can submit representations against the transfer and they should be decided on within 10 days.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj issued the direction after the State government and the RTCs said they were prepared to consider sympathetically if the suspended employees were to file appeals against suspension.

In the case of dismissed employees, the RTCs told the court that appeal against dismissal required proper proceedings as some of the employees were dismissed on serious charges such as assault and preventing other employees from attending to duty, and not on the basis of mere participation in the strike.

On the demands of the KSTEL, including wage revision as per the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, the court said it would not go into the legalities of these issues at present and might refer the issue for mediation by appointing a retired judge of the High Court if the government, the RTCs, and the union were not able to resolve the issue.

Earlier, the Advocate General told the court that the government had almost made it clear that it was not possible to pay wages in terms of the Sixth Pay Commission, and the issue was pending adjudication under the Industrial Disputes Act. On the other hand, the RTCs told the court that a group of employees had resorted to the strike when a reconciliation process was under way as per the law.

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