A bench of justices Anil R Dave and Dipak Misra slammed both states as well as Jharkhand Hill Area Lift Irrigation Corporation (JHALCO) and Bihar Hill Area Lift Irrigation Corporation (BHALCO) for treating the employees as ‘guinea pigs’ and said their attitude reflects ‘deviancy with cruel impassibility.’
It pulled up the governments for not sorting out their differences arising out of bifurcation of Bihar which resulted in non-payment of salaries driving the employee to starvation.
"True it is, under the law, there has been bifurcation and the Central Government has been assigned the role to settle the controversies that had to arise between the two states. But the experimentation that has been done with the employees as if they are guinea pigs is legally not permissible and indubitably absolutely unconscionable. It hurts the soul of the Constitution and no one has the right to do so," it said.
It directed that the employees who were paid certain amount after this court had directed for deposit of Rs 50 crores by the Bihar and have not been absorbed by JHALCO, will be paid salary by Bihar government from January 1, 1995 till December 29, 2001.
The Apex Court said that Jharkhand shall pay from December 29, 2001 till September 13, 2004.
"If the present factual matrix is tested on the anvil of the aforesaid principles, there can be no trace of doubt that both the States and the Corporations have conveniently ostracized the concept of model employer,” the SC noted.
"It would not be wrong to say that they have done so with pacific calmness, sans vision, shorn of responsibility and oblivious of their role in such a situation. Their action reflects the attitude of motionlessness, proclivity of impassivity and deviancy with cruel impassibility," it said.
"Neither of the States nor the Corporations have even thought for a moment about the livelihood of the employees. They have remained totally alien to the situation to which the employees have been driven to. In a state of good governance, the Government cannot act like an alien. It has an active role to play. It has to have a constructive and progressive vision," the bench said.


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