The Delhi High Court on June 29, 2018 restrained DMRC staff from going on their proposed strike from midnight over a number of demands, including pay-scale revision, saying huge inconvenience would be caused to commuters.
After an urgent hearing which started around 5:30 pm, Justice Vipin Sanghi passed the interim order holding that prima facie, the action of the metro staff does not seem to be justified or legal.
The court, in an ex-parte order, said Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is running a public utility service which caters to around 25 lakh citizens of Delhi, who come largely from the middle income group, on a daily basis and sufficient notice has not been given to the DMRC and the conciliation proceedings are still in progress.
DMRC moved the urgent petition which was mentioned at the residence of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal who assigned it for hearing before Justice Sanghi.
“… Prima facie, the action of the respondents (employees) does not appear to be justified or legal since sufficient notice has not been given to the petitioner and the conciliation proceedings are still in progress, I am inclined to grant ad-interim relief as sought in the application. Accordingly, the employees are restrained from going on strike on June 30 or till further orders in the matter,” the judge, who heard the matter for around 30 minutes, said in a five-page order.
The court issued notice to general secretary (staff council) and DMRC employees union for July 6 on DMRC’s plea which sought direction to restrain the employees from resorting to strike as per their notices of June 18 and 20.
DMRC, represented through advocate Kunal Sharma, challenged three notices given by DMRC employees union and DMRC staff council of June 14, 18 and 20 respectively.
The court said that huge inconvenience would be caused to commuters if the metro staff go on strike.
The DMRC’s counsel showed correspondence between the corporation and the employees and minutes of meetings held between its representatives and the DMRC staff council which showed that a settlement was arrived at between them on July 23 last year.
The court said it appeared that there were disputes regarding implementation of the terms of the settlement and it is the claim of the employees that the terms of the settlement have not be fully implemented till date.
However, the position taken by DMRC appeared that the staff council was raising further demand which according to it was unjustified.
The court said that from the notices, it appeared that the employees have threatened that in case the settlement is not implemented, the “staff will not go to home from the night of June 29 and shutdown/ lockout/ tool down will be done with effect from June 30″.
DMRC’s counsel submitted that the issue of implementation of the settlement was pending before the Regional Labour Commissioner and the proceedings are currently in progress. However, the staff threatened to go on strike from tomorrow, he said.
The council also said that DMRC was ready and willing to resolve the disputes with the employees to fully implement the settlement arrived at last July.
“DMRC, in right earnest, wishes to resolve all outstanding issues with the staff,” the counsel said.
The total liability of DMRC till date is Rs 38,685.03 crore.
There are nearly 12,000 people employed with the Delhi Metro, with the non-executive staffers accounting for about 9,000.
Some of the non-executive staff of the DMRC has been demonstrating at a few metro stations, including the Yamuna Bank and Shahdara, since June 19 in support of their eight-point demand.
The non-executive work-force includes train operators, station controllers, operations and maintenance staff and technicians, and forms a major component in the operation of the rapid rail network.
Some of the council members have been protesting over a number of issues, including pay-scale revision, modification of the DMRC Staff Council as an employees union, proper guidelines for sacking of an employee and that too in extreme conditions.