Hyderabad: A division bench of Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice K.C. Bhanu of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday differed on their verdicts on petitions against the strike of the AP Non Gazetted Officers Association and Seemandhra Secretariat Employees Forum.
The bench was pronouncing its verdict on public interest litigations by V. Ravi Kumar, an advocate, and T. Danaiah, president of the All India BC, OBC Party, seeking declaration of the strike by the APNGOs and Seemandhra Secretariat Forum illegal.
Chief Justice Sengupta said that the plea was maintainable, hence, he passed order on merits of the plea by declaring that the strike was illegal.
He directed the state government to initiate action against the employees who participated in the strike. He directed that the government issue recovery proceedings for the loss caused to it due to the strike and ruled that the loss be recovered from the employees who participated in the strike.
Justice Bhanu differed. He felt that the court cannot decide if the strike was legal or illegal in a plea in which prima facie a motive was involved.
He pointed out that one of the petitioners admittedly had participated in a similar agitation (Telangana agitation) and, in such circumstances, entertaining a plea in the name of public interest cannot be maintained.
3rd judge to decide on split verdict
Wednesday’s split verdict on the APNGOs strike wi-ll not be operational till a third judge, to be appointed later, delivers his verdict.
Currently, the government is implementing its no-work-no-pay rule. The strike period in case of the Telangana employees (last year) and APNGOs is being treated as leave.
The employees are being paid salary advance, which will be adjusted against their leaves in future.
The government has never faced a situation wherein it has had to recover the loss to the exchequer caused by the strike, from the striking employees.
It may be relevant to mention that the state government had previously decided to withdraw GO Ms No. 177 to implement the no-work-no-pay rule after the Telangana employees went on strike during the Sakala Janula Samme last year.
The decision to withdraw the GO was challenged before the High Court, which stayed it. In view of the stay, the government is paying salary only as advance and not on regular basis.