Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Supreme Court of India has rejected an Orissa Government appeal against a judgment of Orissa High Court that had asked the Government to regularize services of two of its low-paid employees.

Under wrongful reforms, Orissa Government has drastically reduced the number of its employees whereas by increasing populist programs manifold, it has massively increased the workload. This means the employees in every office are overloaded with works that they execute under normal salary.

As if this sort of exploitation is not enough, the Government has kept many employees underpaid by keeping them on temporary basis while deriving from them work on regular basis for years together.

This unfair practice keeps the employees away from regular salary, dearness allowance and other legal amenities like earned leave and medical benefits.

When any employee victimized by such unfair practice seeks judicial intervention, the Government goes up to the Supreme Court of India in justifying its machinations of exploitation!

For an instance the instant case involving two temporary employees namely Parixit Mallik and Gadadhar Sethi may be looked at.

They are posted under the Utkal University with a consolidated pay for many decades.

Kept bereft of regular salary, they were being forced to do all the works that regular employees were expected to do.

Repeated representations for regularization gone unheeded to, they had moved in 1999 the High Court of Orissa, which, after around seven years, disposed off in 2006 their petitions by holding the official action illegal and directing the Department of Higher Education as well as Department of Finance, Government of Orissa to regularize these two employees in their respective positions within a period of three months.

Around three years have elapsed. They are not yet regularized.

As is the wont of this Government, instead of honoring the High Court order, the State went to the Supreme Court in appeal.

As such, the Government under Navin Patnaik dragged both of the low paid employees into further litigation for the only fault that they had sought for justice in matter of their service and they had convinced the High court that they were victims of injustice and the High Court had granted them justice by asking the State Government to correct the wrong done to them.

The Supreme Court on many earlier occasions has observed that the state should behave like an ideal employer and should not act like a litigant and drag employees to higher courts when a lower court points out mistakes of the State in matter of dispute raised by any employee. But the Government under Navin Patnaik behaves like a habitual litigant.

These pages carry instances of how this Government has earned judicial strictures for having tried to frustrate the justice meted out by trial courts to its harassed employees. This time again the Supreme Court has censored the Government by turning down its appeal against the High Court order in the matter of these two low-paid employees in its decision on 16th last.

But, this order of the Supreme Court has least possibility of being honored expeditiously unless the two victimized employees grease the palms of the relevant mandarins in the State Government to execute the verdict.

I venture this apprehension on the basis of how the character of this Government is discernible in the following case.

There was a Civil Appeal bearing No.940 of 2006 arising out of SLP ( C ) Nos. 16362-16363 of 2004, preferred before the Supreme Court of India against an order of the Orissa High Court in which Government of Orissa was the Opposite Party. A Coram comprising Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice P. K. Balasubramanyan rejected the Appeal on February 2, 2006 with a virtual carte blanche given to Orissa Government to proceed against the persons that had tried to frustrate the State’s welfare through the litigation. But the functionaries of this Government are so habitual in serving vested interests that they have not hesitated to sleep over this judgment to the total detriment of public interest in order only to help the persons against whom the Government had won.

When Government’s victory in the Supreme Court is thus rendered defunct, what other than grease can make others’ victory against the Government functional?

Future will provide us with the answer. As on now, it is clear that the present Government of Orissa is a litigant Government. It harasses it employees. It is guilty of unfair labor practice. It is exploitive by nature and habit. It has been victimizing employees with continuous denial of regular salary and job security. It has no respect for Law. It is in the habit of harassing employees and dragging them from Court to Court to kill their fighting spirit and to frustrate verdicts as and when any is issued in their favor. And, two of the victimized employees having won their cases in the Orissa High Court had been dragged by Orissa Government to the Supreme Court, where, despite ruin of their purses in facing the State-run litigation, they have finally won.

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