Court was ceased with the question if PTI was right in withholding encashment of casual leave of suspended union members
People keep wondering as to why cases prolong in courts. And then, they also mutter, “justice delayed is justice denied”. Those who are litigants can narrate the reasons well. They can also narrate how do they feel when they (actually) win after prolong battles in courts.
Media for sure keeps on writing about the pendency of cases in courts but what happens when the media itself contributes to such state of affairs? A case in example here is Indian news agency PTI or The Press Trust of India Ltd.
I find it very surprising that this news agency, even after 60 years of its inception, does not have any rules and regulations governing its employees, and in the absence of which it is being run on the whims and fancies of its CEO M. K. Razdan, who is now well past 65 and responsible for the number of cases involving the news agency in different courts of the country.
The case in hand, right now, relates to the action of PTI in withholding encashment of casual leave of five staff members for the financial year 2003-2004. Though the amount involved was less than Rs.4000 each to the members of the staff, yet PTI, without assigning any reasons and in flagrant violation of principles of natural justice, withheld even this small amount because the said employees happened to be office bearers of the union disliked by Razdan.
Alleging that the treatment meted to them were illegal and unjustified, the staff members challenged the action of PTI in the court where PTI maintained that since the staff members were under suspension during the said period, no such benefit could have been extended to them.
Thus, the court was ceased with the question as to whether the action of PTI in withholding encashment of casual leave of the staff members for the financial year 2003-04 was illegal or unjustified.
After a number of hearings, the court finally held that the staff members should be deemed to have been on duty during the period of their suspension and they should be entitled to wages which they would have earned if they had not been placed under suspension.
“In my opinion, not only the wages but they are also entitled to other benefits such as casual leave encashment which management had been extending to its other employees,” the court ruled. Read full judgment here.
But look at PTI. Even after the court passed the order after due adjudication in favor of the staff members, this media organization showed further reluctance in implementing the Award of the Industrial Tribunal Delhi, upon which the staff members were compelled to file a complaint as also an application with the Delhi Government, to recover their due amount.
I am happy… at last… that (after much dillydallying) PTI finally paid the due amount to three of the five staff members. Hopefully, God Willing, rest two will also get their 2003-04 dues soon.