Railways Cooperative Credit Society brass faces case of contempt

CHENNAI: A group of railway cooperative society staff members, terminated from service in violation a high court order, has initiated contempt of court proceedings against the entire top brass, including chairman N Kannaiah, of the credit society.

The contempt notice slapped on them by advocate D Nagasaila called upon the chairman, chief executive Manivannan, and other directors of the executive committee to immediately keep in abeyance the termination of service of six employees including the Railways Employees Cooperative Society Staff Union general secretary R C Cyril Thiagaraj and vice-president S Velmurugan, or face contempt proceedings.

According to the notice, the arbitrary changes in service regulations had been questioned by the six terminated employees, and the issue had been referred to the Industrial Tribunal last year. While the conciliation proceedings were pending, largescale victimisation of office-bearers of the society employees union started, and there were mass transfers and penalty proceedings for major and minor offences.

The employees union challenged those retribution in the high court, which on March 8, 2016 directed chairman Kannaiah that wherever disciplinary proceedings are initiated by the management, final orders should not be passed till conclusion of the conciliation proceedings by the conciliation officer. It also asked the management to keep those proceedings in abeyance. After failure of conciliation proceedings, the union again filed a writ petition against alteration of service regulations. In response to this writ petition, the management gave an undertaking that no further action would be taken in the disciplinary proceedings, and it was recorded by the court on December 2, 2016.

On March 8, 2017, it was submitted in the high court that the protection available under Section 33 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 would be available to employees whose disputes had been referred to the industrial tribunal. The management’s counsel too informed the court that there would be no difficulty in complying with Section 33.

While so, all of a sudden, on April 10, 2017, the impugned termination orders had been issued to four office-bearers and four members of the employees union, in contempt of the March 8, 2017 undertaking. “Section 33(1) has been brazenly violated and all of you have failed to comply with Section 33 in letter and spirit,” Nagasaila said in the notice, adding that it was an attempt to deliberately subvert various orders of the court in the matter. (Syndicated feed)

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