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Bombay High Court quashes state transport scheme ‘Kutumb Suraksha Yojana’, says must be thrown in dustbin

The High Court found the scheme against the public policy as it lacked the basic principles of law.

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The Bombay High Court has set aside and quash the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation scheme known as ‘Kutumb Suraksha Yojana’ while stating bad signal would reach in the society that the persons/Conductors who are involved in cases of misappropriation are being reemployed/reinstated in the Corporation, thus cannot be allowed in the welfare State.

A division bench of Bombay High Court at Aurangabad comprising of Justices S.V. Gangapurwala and Shrikant D. Kulkarni said, “The impugned decision is nothing but abuse of powers. The impugned decision is arbitrary and violative of well settled principles of Labour Laws and employment and equally, it violates Constitutional provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 19.”

The High Court found the scheme against the public policy as it lacked the basic principles of law. 

The Court said, if the impugned scheme allowed to be executed in favour of the beneficiaries, would convey inappropriate signal in the society that the Conductors who are involved in cases of misappropriation & corruption are being reinstated in the Corporation. This cannot be allowed in the welfare State, it held. 

The Court further held that It is necessary to struck down the impugned policy by looking to the public interest at large and generation of employment. The impugned scheme is violative of Constitutional provisions and as such, must be thrown in the dust-bin.

However the Court said, Those who have already been granted benefit of this scheme earlier may not be disturbed.

Background and decision leading to this PIL:

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) had come out with a scheme named “Kutumb Suraksha Yojana” to reinstate the terminated/suspended conductors which shall provide financial aid to the families of the conductors who were suspended/terminated owing to the mis-appropriation of funds and corruption charges against them. However, few terminated/suspended employees were irked by this scheme as they were to be excluded from the list of beneficiaries in light of the age criteria imposed in the abovesaid scheme, i.e., 45 years and as a result of which writ petition was filed which was later converted as a Suo Motu Public Interest Litigation by the Hon’ble Bombay High Court.

Subsequently, MSRTC in order to justify and take stand on launching such scheme stated two reasons that due to the litigation between the MSRTC and the suspended / dismissed conductors on account of mis-appropriation or fraud, heavy financial loss is being caused to the Corporation and  due to the misdeeds of the said conductors, their family members are facing financial problems.

Learned counsel for the petitioner, Mr. S.S. Gangakhedkar submitted that the scheme introduced by the MSRTC is against the public policy and such an approach of showing sympathy towards the wrong doors at the cost of public at large placed his reliance on State of Haryana and others Vs. Piara Singh and others which held that in service matters, the role of the Court is to ensure rule of law and to see that executive acts fairly and Sushil kumar Singhal Vs. Regional Manager, Punjab National Bank which heldthat in Service Law, conviction of a person in crime involving moral turpitude impeaches his credibility as he has been found to have indulged in a shameful, wicked and base activity such an employee cannot be directed to be reinstated in service.

V.D. Sapkal, learned senior counsel for respondent also placed reliance on Dattaraj Nathuji Thaware Vs. Sate of Maharashtra and others in which it is ruled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the Public Interest Litigation should not be entertained involving service matters and Hari Bansh Lal Vs. Sahodar Prasad Mahto and others in which it is held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that in Public Interest Litigation involving service matters, the Public Interest Litigation is not maintainable except for issuance of writ of quo warranto, in support of his submissions.

The division bench comprising of Justice Shrikant D. Kulakarni and Justice S.V. Gangapurwala having regard to the reasons and discussion and after studying the impugned scheme finds that impugned order is arbitrary and violative of well settled principles of Labour Laws and employment and equally, it violates Constitutional provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 19.

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The court on 30th April 2021 quashes and set aside the impugned scheme known as ‘Kutumb Suraksha Yojana’ by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation by stating bad signal would reach in the society that the persons/Conductors who are involved in cases of misappropriation are being reemployed/reinstated in the Corporation, thus cannot be allowed in the welfare State.

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