The Uttarakhand High Court ordered the State Government to arrange a meeting as soon as possible to settle the problem of salary payment to State Transport Corporation workers, citing violations of their rights under Articles 21, 23, and 300A of the Constitution.
The division bench observed, “Considering the fact that these employees do not belong to the upper echelon of the Corporation, and are mere workers, as most of them happen to be drivers, conductors, and other employees, it is surprising that both the Corporation, and the State Government have abandoned them out in the cold. Needless to say, the deprivation of the salary is violative of Articles 21, 23 and 300-A of the Constitution of India. Thus, neither the Corporation, nor the State Government can be permitted to deprive the employees of their rightful salaries, that too, month after month.”
It highlighted that the State’s decision to delay 50% of employees’ salaries for the next several months is a violation of Article 23 of the Constitution and constitutes a crime.
The Bench further directed the Centre to take the lead in addressing the disputes between the States of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand within two to three months in order to facilitate payment of money owed from the former to the latter.
The Court said, “It is hoped that the meeting of the Hon’ble Cabinet would be convened as expeditiously as possible, so as to resolve the financial crises being faced by the Corporation. After all, the employees cannot be abandoned either by the State of Uttarakhand, or by the Corporation.”
The Transport Secretary submitted an affidavit indicating that on June 29, a sum of Rs. 23 crores were given to the Corporation, which was used to pay salaries to employees for the month of February as well as contractual employees for the month of March.
The Chief Minister has also authorised the transfer of Rs. 34 crores from the State Contingency Fund to the Transport Corporation.