Old Pension Scheme| State-Wide Strike By Govt Employees is Illegal: Maharashtra Govt Tells Bombay High Court

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The high court issued notice to the respondents and allowed the plea to be amended to add the employees' unions as parties.

The Maharashtra State Government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that the ongoing state-wide strike by government employees is illegal.

Advocate General Birendra Saraf told so to the court when it was passing an order directing the state to place on record the steps taken by the government. 

Further, court granted leave to the petitioner to amend the interim application and add the unions as parties who are protesting while issuing notice to the respondents.

The court in its order recorded that the common man should not be deprived of essential services due to the strikes.

"Our anxiety is that the common citizen should not be deprived of essential service, and students should not be deprived of certificates and benefits of the mid-day meal scheme. Issue notice to respondent returnable on March 23," the order stated.

Furthermore, advocate Gunratna Sadavarte, appearing in person, submitted before the court that as per the Maharashtra Civil Service Rules, the strike is illegal and that children are not being given mid-day meals which can only be given by teaching and non-teaching staff.

The Advocate General informed the court that some teachers had withdrawn from the strike and had returned since the board exams are ongoing. He also assured the court that the state government is trying to make every service available to the common citizen as far as possible.

Sadavarte's application stated 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 stated.

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

Case Title: Gunratna Sadavarte vs State of Maharashtra & Ors