The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to give details of its employees who abstained from work as part of the two-day nationwide strike on March 28 and 29, against central policies, and are facing action for the same. The high court has also ordered the LDF government to give the “details of government employees who availed leave, permission whether granted or not or pending and outcome of the same” in a tabular column.
The court also made it clear that the statement to be filed by the state government “should also contain the details of the disciplinary action taken, outcome, etc.” and listed the matter for hearing on August 24. The court sought these details after the state government said it has initiated disciplinary action under the Kerala Service Rules against its employees who abstained from work on those two days.
The government had also told a bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly that it had issued orders to treat the unauthorised absence of employees participating in the strike as dies-non. It had also claimed that it issued directions to take action against those who had availed unauthorised leave. The court’s order came on a plea by a lawyer — Chandra Chooden Nair S — alleging that the government was aiding and assisting the strike on March 28 and 29 by permitting leave with salary to its employees taking part in it instead of declaring ‘dies non’ (no work, no pay).
In his petition, Nair sought ensuring compulsory attendance of the employees, disciplinary action against those abstaining from work and a declaration that the strike was unconstitutional. When the plea was first heard on March 28, the court had directed the LDF administration to forthwith issue orders preventing its employees from abstaining from duty as part of the two-day nationwide strike, saying that government servants should not engage in any concerted or organised slowdown of work.
The Bench had said Rule 86 of the Kerala Government Servants’ Conduct Rules makes it clear that no government servant shall engage himself or herself in any strike or in any similar activities. Hours after the high court’s order of March 28, the state government had issued an order stating that “unauthorised absence of employees participating in the strike will be treated as dies-non”, under Rule 14 A of Part 1 of Kerala Service Rules.
The order had also said no leave of any kind will be granted to government employees unless there is sickness of the individual or relatives like wife, children, father and mother. The strike — on March 28 and 29 — had been called by the joint platform of central trade unions against “the anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national policies” of the central government.