THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict which quashed a government order to grant leave with salary to employees and teachers who did not join for duty during the nationwide general strike in January 2019.
The HC had quashed the GO dated January 31, 2019, which allowed government employees to avail of casual or other eligible leaves for January 8 and 9, 2019, the days on which they were absent as part of the nationwide general strike. The two-day strike was called by a joint committee of various trade unions against the Centre’s policies.
In the petition submitted before the Supreme Court, the state government is learnt to have raised the argument that the government order was a policy decision, despite the High Court having rejected it earlier.The High Court had said: "Even if it is a policy decision, the court can look into the legality, correctness or arbitrariness of the same, and interfere, by exercising the power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, if such a policy is against the statutory provisions."
It further said the government order was illegal, arbitrary, contrary to the statutory provisions, and therefore, liable to be interfered with by the court under Article 226.The High Court order dated February 2, 2021, directed the heads of departments to scrutinise the attendance registers, and take action, in accordance with law, within two months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the judgment.
The order was passed by the bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chali based on a public interest litigation filed by Police Fingerprint Bureau former director G Balagopalan.