Himachal High Court reprimands HRTC employees on strike

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The Himachal government had filed a petition in the High Court that the HRTC employees went on strike despite its directive on June 13 and 14 not to do so.

The honourable High Court of Himachal Pradesh has come down heavily on employees of Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) who were on strike.

The division bench consisting of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Sandeep Sharma reprimanded them for wilfully defying its orders, saying they should ‘bear the consequences of their action’ failing which the court orders would be ‘conveniently’ ignored or flouted by all.

The Himachal government had filed a petition in the High Court that the HRTC employees went on strike despite its directive on June 13 and 14 not to do so.

The court has refused to accept ‘oral apology’ tendered by the employee leaders through their counsel.

“Breach on the part of the respondents is wilful and blatant which was observed even in the order passed by this court yesterday,” the bench said.

“It is clear that the respondents, who have absolutely no regard for the orders of the court must be made to bear the consequences of their action, otherwise all the parties would conveniently ignore or flout the orders of the Courts,” the bench added.

The court stated that apology at this stage cannot be accepted as despite the directions of the court, all employees have still not joined back on duty by calling off the strike.”

“Apology is an act of contrition and unless it is offered in good grace, the apology is shorn of penitence and hence it is liable to be rejected,” it observed.

The court further said that “If the apology is offered at the time when the contemnor finds that the court is going to impose punishment it ceases to be an apology and becomes an act of a cringing coward.”

It said “the apology is not a weapon of defence to purge the guilty of their offence nor is it intended to operate as universal panacea, but it is intended to be evidence of real contriteness.”

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