Kochi, Feb 2 (PTI): The Kerala High Court on Tuesday quashed a state government order, sanctioning two days leave to its employees, including teachers, who participated in a nationwide strike in January 2019, holding that it was 'illegal' and 'arbitary.' A division bench, comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly quashed the G.O. of January 31, 2019 on a petition by G Balagopalan, a retired police officer, who submitted that the government hadcommitted 'serious discrimination'by bringing out the order.
While those in the unorganised sector are forced to give up their earnings whether they support the strike or not,those in government service have the option to sign the attendance register and to boycott the call for general strike, he said.
'The order permitting casual leave for the days of absence by striking against the policies of the central government amounts to the state government aiding and assisting its employees to protest against the centre.
Thus state government has failed to protect its obligation in the federal structure as enshrined in the Constitution', the petitioner submitted.
Allowing the petition, the bench held that the order by the Principal Secretary, Department of General Administration, was 'illegal, arbitrary, contrary to statutory provisions and therefore liable to be interfered with by this court under Art 226 of the Constitution of India'.
Keeping in mind the provisions of law,circulars/G.O.s, the Principal Secretary and Heads of Departments were directed by the court to scrutinise the attendance registers and take action in accordance with law within two months.
The bench held that though the senior government pleader relied on a June 17, 2011 order of granting similar relief, it was not impressed 'since an illegality cannot be permitted to breed by another illegality'. PTI COR UD APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR