Cannot Ignore Plight Of Hapless Employees That Are Part Of Most Vulnerable Financial State Of Society: Kerala HC Directs KSRTC To Pay Pending Salaries
The Kerala High Court has ordered the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation Ltd. (KSRTC) to pay the salaries of their employees. It comes in the light of series of previous orders issued by the High Court directing the payment of salary.
The KSRTC generates revenue over 220 crores per month with most employees performing above satisfactory levels. Hence, the Court directed the salaries of the employees to be released immediately as the employees are not in good financial conditions, and require support.
The Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran held that “reminding the Authorities the plight of the hapless employees of the KSRTC, if their salaries and allowances are defaulted even for a few days – they all being members of the most vulnerable financial state of society. It is thus that directions were issued in the last of the said orders to make sure that the KSRTC shall, as far as it is practical, pay salary on the 5th, or at least by the 10th of each month.”
The Court further added that “One fails to understand why the KSRTC is being pushed into this kind of financial distress when their employees are working at more than satisfactory levels, which is evident from the income that is generated – stated to be over 220 crore per month now. As this Court said earlier, it is obvious that the KSRTC is burdened by their prior commitments and that amounts are being used to honour them, before the salaries are paid. This, if true, is contrary to the spirit of the order dated 21.06.2022. The net effect is that the employees of the KSRTC are toiling, but they are left without being paid salary.”
Advocates M/S.P. Nandakumar & Amrutha Sanjeev appeared for the Petitioners while Standing Counsel Deepu Thankan appeared for the Respondents.
The Petitioners represent the employees of the KSRTC who have repeatedly complained that their salaries are not being paid on time. The High Court had passed various orders that directed the KSRTC to release salaries and pay it by a fixed date, ideally by 5th or 10th of every month so that the employees don’t suffer.
In spite of the said orders, the KSRTC failed to fulfill its obligations in paying the employees due to which the Petitioners approached the High Court.
After a careful examination of the submissions made by the KSRTC, the Court said that “This Court fails to understand how long this can go on, particularly when the Government appears to take the stand that they cannot take full responsibility for the Corporation. Pertinently, this Court has been making suggestions for the benefit of the KSRTC, but as I have said above, they appear to have all fallen on deaf ears even today.”
The High Court adjourned the matter to be heard on July 20, 2023, with a direction to pay salaries of all employees before the next date, failing which, the Managing Director of KSRTC was asked to appear online before the Court.
Cause Title: R. Baji & Ors. v. Karnataka State Road Transportation Corporation & Ors.