Orissa HC awards Rs 6L ex gratia to 10 erstwhile OSEB workers 

Sources said the Labour Court, Bhubaneswar in 1998 had ordered for reinstatement of 38 workmen of OSEB by NESCO.
Orissa High Court. (File photo)
Orissa High Court. (File photo)

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has announced payment of  Rs 6 lakh compensation each to around 10 workmen of Orissa State Electricity Board (OSEB) who, despite court orders, were not re-engaged by the company. 

It was reportedly because the company was taken over by the North Eastern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha (NESCO) in 1998 and then sold to Tata Power in 2021. The division bench of Justice Arindam Sinha and Justice Sibo Sankar Mishra directed TP Northern Odisha Distribution Limited (TPNODL) and state government’s central electrical division to pay the compensation. 

Sources said the Labour Court, Bhubaneswar in 1998 had ordered for reinstatement of 38 workmen of OSEB by NESCO. But instead of implementing it, NESCO challenged the court order in the high court and then the Supreme Court. However in 2015, the apex court dismissed the plea while upholding the high court order.

By the time the company was taken over by Tata Power, six of the 38 workers had died. While Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission ordered for relief to all workmen in 2021, TPNODL reinstated 17 of them. In the meantime, the remaining workers who had not received reinstatement, attained the age of superannuation. Of them, 10 had filed a petition in the high court.  

Advocate Sudhansu Bhusan Mohanty, arguing on their behalf, sought relief on the ground that the workers had lost over 25 years of their life without any service and reached the superannuation age as successive managements had resorted to litigations in different courts instead of implementing court orders. 

Allowing the prayer of the petitioners, the bench on November 22 said, “We direct TPNODL and Government of Odisha’s Central Electrical Division to pay Rs 6,00,000 to each of the 10 petitioners within four months from date of receipt of this order. The payment shall be in addition to wages.”

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