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The Kerala High Court has stayed the state government decision to pay salary to the government staff who took part in the two-day all-India strike on January 8 and 9 by considering both days as leave with salary. Stating that the government’s decision amounts to encouraging those involved in strikes, the court also asked the government to submit an explanation on the matter.

The court issued the interim order on a private complaint. The complainant has also submitted a copy of the government order issued a few days ago allowing salary for both the strike days. The complainant stated that the decision to pay the salary was against law and sought the help of the judiciary to roll-back the decision. The complainant also alleged that the government itself was encouraging the strikers by its decision to pay the salary.   

All government offices in the state hadf come to  a standstill on the two days as the state’s CPI(M) led Left  Democratic Front government supported the call for strike given by some opposoition parties against what was termed as “anti labour and anti poor policies of the NDA government at the centre. TBalagopalan, a retired government employee, had filed a PIL challenging the government order granting eligible leave to employees to mark the days of absence as leave the days they had taken part in the nation wide general strike.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar, asked the government not to encourage such agitations and directed the government to file a response to the petition before the court.

“According to our prima facie opinion, the strike in question was not a legally permissible one. Even if the strike was legal and justified, there cannot be a blanket order by the Government by which the employees would be made to feel that the strike was legal and justified and that those employees who failed to turn up for work are entitled to eligible leave including casual leave,” said the court order.

–India Legal Bureau

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