Bihar ambulance service workers on strike, Patna High Court pulls up Government

LEGAL NEWS OCT 14,2020

New Delhi (ILNS): The Patna High Court has sought a reply from the state health department within two days over the alleged strike of ambulance employees attached to the 102 emergency service amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar was hearing a PIL filed by Gaurav Kumar Singh, who alleged that the ambulance service employees were on strike resulting in inconvenience to people in state amid the pandemic situation.

The Court observed: “We only hope and expect that the essential service i.e. providing ambulance to the needy is restored immediately, be it voluntarily by the service providers or with the effort and endeavour of the state government.”

The petitioner has urged the high court to direct the authorities concerned to consider their assumingly genuine claims and grievances in order to end the strike.

Clippings of several vernacular dailies have also been annexed with the PIL with reference to their indefinite strike from September 14 over demands of wage increment, overtime payment and incentives for work during Covid-19 pandemic along with implementing labour laws. In addition, they had to work four hours extra daily without getting any incentive.

Additional Advocate General SD Yadav said he spoke to authorities concerned, who informed him that the strike had ended and the 102 emergency service was functioning smoothly. “The court would be apprised of it on Wednesday,” he added. Counsel Sumeet Kumar Singh appeared for the petitioner in the case.

The Court expressed the strict view that during the time of current situation and circumstances prevalent as a result of Pandemic Covid-19, none of the functionaries empowered and authorised under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 can refrain from discharging their duties and functions, “more so by resorting to the mechanism of strike which perhaps may be illegal.”

The court has fixed Thursday for hearing the issue again.

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