Dismantling Media Mafia – Part 4

In a characteristic account of blatant misuse of power and money, Indian news agency PTI wasted about Rs. Two Lakhs defending its bigoted decision to arbitrarily withhold a meager ex-gratia of Rs. Six Thousand to its two employees.

And now, since even the Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with the order passed in favor of the two employees by a lower court, will the Press Trust of India pay Rs. Six Thousand each to them, at last.

Vinod
Balram

The two – Vinod Kumar and Balram Singh Dahiya – had challenged the company’s action of not paying them the ex-gratia amount during the Diwali festival in 2004, saying that the such action of the management was violative of their conditions of service besides being whimsical and vindictive. They claimed before an industrial tribunal that their company had not disclosed any reason for not making the payment which action was also in violation of principles of natural justice. At that time, Vinod Kumar was the President of his union, while Balram Singh Dahiya held the post of Vice President in The Press Trust of India Employees’ Union, Delhi.

The Industrial Tribunal – II, Delhi, was thus seized with the question as to whether “ex-gratia payment” made on the occasion of festival or otherwise generally to the workforce is enforceable liability on the management or management can pay the same to certain group of workmen and leave others?

And finally, it arrived at the conclusion that payment of customary ex-gratia made to the workmen by the management persistently for considerable period amounts to implied condition of service  under the law and comes under the definition of “fringe benefits”.

“ … therefore, withholding of payment of ex-gratia of Rs.6000 to the workmen Vinod Kumar and Balram Singh Dahiya each for the financial year 2003-2004 on the ground that they remained under suspension is not justified and they are entitled to the same. These issues are accordingly decided in favour of the workmen and against the management.”

PTI Building at 4 Parliament Street
PTI Bldng Parliament Street

The Presiding Officer of the tribunal Sh. Babu Lal, thus ordered on 26.5.2009 that: “In view of my findings on various issues as referred to above, I hold that workmen Sh. Vinod Kumar and Balram Singh Dahiya are entitled to ex-gratia payment of Rs.6000/- each for the financial year 2003-2004 and which is being given to other employees without discrimination and management is bound to make payment of this amount to the workmen.”

But, not satisfied, the management of Press Trust of India belatedly challenged the order of the tribunal in the Delhi High Court which upon hearing on the first day itself dismissed its writ petition.

During all this period, the Press Trust of India constantly engaged the services of at least: (i) two law firms, (ii) two designated senior advocates, (iii) battery of other lawyers, and approached the Delhi High Court twice – first challenging an interlocutory order against its lawyers and then to appeal against the Award of the tribunal.

Should I then leave it to your imagination the expenditure Press Trust of India incurred in the such exercise! SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

11 comments

  1. “lawyers engaged by PTI are relatives or friends of the management”. Lawyers are friends; no never they work for money too, to run their families.

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  2. PTI is not a case in isolation. There are many news agencies in the league. But hats off to you that you have guts and courage to write about it openly. Those who claim to expose truth can’t even protest their own exploitation.

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    • We can discuss such exploitation and be their voice.

      Arti, there may be times when you are not able to protect; but at least we can protest.

      The trade unions of the day are shying away from doing this even.

      Particularly in the media, wherever they exist, they are totally hand in gloves. And hence there are no leaders left; dealers are abundant.

      Thank you for your encouragement.

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  3. Good going, Neeraj! But hope you have taken cognizance of the biggest mafia – the Govt of India itself – and the judge-advocate nexus which would drive the much touted politician-bureaucrat-underworld nexus into the shadows!

    I am also a full time freelance activist for the last 12 years, after I hung my uniform as Major in 1998. I have realized from my own experience that nothing can be changed here without overhauling the judicary lock, stock and barrel.

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  4. May be the lawyers engaged by PTI are relatives or friends of the management. There are umpteen number of instances like this.

    When I was a CBI Inspector, there was one trap case wherein the accused was charged for receiving just 8 Rupees and the case was under trial for decades. My DIG directed me to go to the court without the knowledge of the government prosecutor. I went to Coimbatore where the case was heard. The moment the case was called out, our Public Prosecutor got up asked for adjournment citing some vague excuse. The court then granted an adjournment. This was done by the PP for claiming traveling allowances. And on reporting the matter to the officers, the PP was changed and the case was closed in less than two months.

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    • In fact, the lawyers arranged by PTI are mostly known for causing delays in the court proceedings and putting rods in the wheels of justice.

      Many among the battery of them do not have any other cases except of PTI.

      While PTI wants to deny the benefits to its workers, its advocates only facilitate their evil design.

      As recently as on 22.2.2010, one the senior most judges in the Delhi High Court, while hearing three cases involving PTI, could not control his anguish at their attitude and pulled up the company’s senior lawyer, saying why was he defending such frauds as his clients were cheats, as it appeared from the court files. I was present in the court at that time.

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  5. And how much public money and time the company wasted to satisfy its false ego. That is most important, even if we forget the energy and resources involved in the process!

    And if we calculate it …. oh (just) forget it… you will find a mind boggling figure… and all this for just, all this for mere, all this for meager 6000 rupees, only.

    The entire process also involved so much of precious court time, paper, arguments and to say the least expenditure of the two affected employees as well.

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  6. PTI is literally a damn organisation which doesn’t want to concentrate on developmental issues. It wasted 2 lakhs for saving 6000/-. Wow, what a wise decision!

    I want to touch the feet of PTI management, the people there are like Gods.

    Lawyers and other court staff too have families and need something to survive, PTI is giving them an opportunity.

    Hats off to the PTI management.

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