Kerala HC rules against ‘leave with salary’ to employees during general strike

The government order allowed its employees eligible/casual leave for the two days that they did not attend work, during a nationwide general strike. However, the HC stayed the same saying it encouraged participation in strikes.

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A government order granting eligible/casual leave to government staff during a nationwide general strike in January earlier this year has been stayed by the Kerala High Court (HC).

According to the HC, the Government cannot lead its employees and teachers to believe that the strike was justified and legal, and stay away from work; that these employees cannot be allowed eligible/casual leave for those two days when they did not attend work.

G Balagopalan, a lawyer had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) saying that by granting such leave, the Governemnt was actually encouraging participation in general strikes, which was unacceptable.

The Government’s defense was that such leave takes into account the staff members who are unable to make it to work due to the difficulties that arise when a strike is called, the Bench went ahead and stayed the order. It was ruled that it was not right for the Government to let employees believe that staying away from work and being absent from duty during a general strike is acceptable and legally allowed.

The state government’s order, that sanctioned eligible leave with salary for its staff members who had not reported for work during the nationwide general strike— called by the joint trade union, against the Central Government’s policies on January 8 and 9—was therefore, stayed by the Kerala HC.

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