Old Pension Scheme| Plea Before Bombay High Court Against Ongoing State Wide Employees' Strike

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The high court will hear the interim application filed against the strike by government employees by a lawyer tomorrow.

A Mumbai-based lawyer, Gunratan Sadavarte, has filed an application before the Bombay High Court seeking immediate directions to Maharashtra state government employees, including medical and teaching staff, to withdraw their ongoing indefinite strike.

The strike began on March 14, 2023, with lakhs of employees demanding the reinstatement of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), which had been abolished in 2005.

Sadavarte's application highlightes that the strike, which includes public health service employees, sanitation workers, and teachers, has had an adverse impact on government hospitals, schools, and colleges, as well as rural government offices. According to reports, the strike has severely impacted the health services provided at government-run hospitals, resulting in delays and cancellations of surgeries and treatments.

In addition, schools and colleges have been affected, and citizens requiring documentation from various departments have been unable to obtain them due to the strike, the plea states.

Sadavarte has argued that the strike violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty. He has emphasized that patients were suffering due to the delay in receiving medical treatment and surgeries were being postponed. 

The strike has caused inconvenience and hardship to the public, which goes against the fundamental rights of the citizens. Sadavarte also stated that the strike went against the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act, 2023 (MESMA), which prohibits strikes by essential service providers, the plea reads.

In his application, Sadavarte has stated that the government, led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, had announced the formation of a committee to look into the demands of the striking employees. 

However, without waiting for the committee's decision, the employees had gone on an "illegal strike" that continues to date, the plea mentions.

Sadavarte has argued that employees should not have gone on strike without first waiting to see if any positive steps were taken by the government to address their demands.

Sadavarte has filed the application in a pending public interest litigation case from 2014, where the Court had expressed hope that no more strikes would occur that would lead to patient suffering.

In his plea, he has requested the Court to call for records on the strike, including the number of employees on strike and whether there have been any casualties due to the strike. He has also sought the Court's direction to the employees to withdraw their plea.

The interim application was mentioned before the high court today morning and the high court agreed to hear the plea tomorrow.

Case Title: Gunratan Sadavarte vs State of Maharashtra & Ors