Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court has pulled up Rani Kumidini, principal secretary, labour, over her failure to constitute the state-level social security board for unorganised workers for last four years.
Though the secretary submitted that the board was being constituted and some 28 members were being appointed, she failed to explain the delay of four years. The process of appointments was taken up a few days ago after the court took note of the delay.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy was dealing with a petition from Congress leader C. Damodhar Rajanarasimha, former deputy chief minister.
Asking the officials to wake up from their slumber, Chief Justice Kohli advised them to better live up to the people’s expectations.
Based on the petition, on February 25, Chief Justice Kohli had given an ultimatum to the officials of the labour department to either constitute the board or be ready to be jailed. The bench had ordered the labour secretary to explain the delay.
Thereon, government counsel for labour department Arun Kumar submitted an affidavit on behalf of the principal secretary, stating that the board has been constituted and its members are being appointed at present.
But the affidavit, submitted in a casual manner, did not explain why the delay and whether members from the SC, ST, minority, and women categories have been appointed. Even the details of the formation of the board, like whether it had started functioning or not, were missing in the affidavit.
This angered the court and it observed that the officers were acting in a callous manner and not performing their duty. By noticing only one name from women category, out of the 28 members, the Chief Justice questioned whether the state was falling short of competent women to form part of the board. “You do not wake up till the court pinches you but how can courts monitor the administration’s functioning on a regular basis,” the CJ asked.
The court reprimanded the labour secretary, in specific, for filing an incomplete affidavit. The court also pulled up the government counsel for approving such an affidavit and desired that counsels showed due diligence. The court sought a copy of the minutes of the board meeting and details of registration of unorganised workers.