Kochi: The Kerala State Electricity Board has imposed a virtual gag order on its employees from approaching courts directly in service related matters and decided to take disciplinary action against erring employees. Instead, the KSEB has set up a three-tier system to resolve service matters. With this an employee is forced to approach the three-tier system and wait for a considerable period of time before seeking a remedy from the courts. Strangely, the KSEB in its order claims that the move is to reduce expenses by way of contempt proceedings and other litigations. It said litigations have often put KSEB at the risk of huge financial loss and has resulted in undue benefits to some non-deserving employees.
“The action of employee approaching any Court directly on service matters without exercising the options available will be viewed seriously as per the existing rules. The Workmen or Officer who approach the court directly in the above cases shall be liable to face appropriate disciplinary action,” the order passed in June 6, 2017 stated. The order says that employees should go through a three-tier system which include First Level Authority, Second level Appellate Authority and Third level Reviewing Authority. Earlier, there was a two tier system and it was not compulsory.
Full Board will be the Reviewing Authority to deal with the disputes raised by Accounts Officer and Financial Officer. The full time directors of KSEB accepted the three tier system and decided to implement it cohesively to deal with the service related grievances of employees, both workmen and officers of all cadres. With this, only service matters which are not mitigated by the three levels of Authorities on escalation, shall be brought to the consideration of the Court of law.
The order passed by chairman and managing director of KSEB stated, “It has come to the notice of the KSEB that a few employees are suing KSEB in various courts including the High Court, directly on service matters without utilising the existing administrative avenues and procedures for redressing their grienvences on service matters. KSEB in its order said that it is not in a position to defend the cases properly and in several instances, the company is faced with embarrassing situation of implementing unfavourable orders and tackling with contempt of court proceedings. Also, KSEB is forced to spend significant manpower and and financial resources towards handling many court cases.