The Madras High Court on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, expressed serious concern for the citizens of Tamil Nadu being put to inconvenience during the Pongal season, because of the ongoing government bus strike by transport employees affiliated to some trade unions, and the failure of the State transport corporations to prevent this.
Chief Justice Sanjay V. Gangapurwala and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy granted time till Wednesday afternoon for Additional Advocate General J. Ravindran, Senior Counsel Vijay Narayan representing one of the trade unions and other counsel to come back with a solution to the problem.
The direction was issued during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by S. Paul Kithiyon, a 25-year-old pharmacology student from Sholinganallur in Chennai, to declare the strike illegal, on the ground that regular bus commuters had been put to immense hardships since Tuesday, when the strike began.
Mr. Narayan told the court that the most important demand of the trade unions was the revision of the Dearness Allowance for pensioners every six months. He said the revision had been frozen and therefore, the State must come up with an assurance to revise the DA with immediate effect.
The AAG, on the other hand, said, the strike was unjustified, and the State had done everything to address the grievances of the employees. After hearing both sides, the Chief Justice remarked that both sides appeared to be adamant and as a consequence, it was the citizens who were bearing the brunt.
“We don’t say that the employees have no right at all to strike by following the necessary procedures but at the mouth of one of the biggest festivals in the State, why should the public be put to inconvenience?” the Chief Justice asked and directed the counsel to get back with a solution by afternoon. He also warned that the court would be constrained to make some strong observations if the impasse remains resolved.