In a set back to the State government, the Karnataka High Court on Saturday has stayed the Essential Services Maintenance (ESMA) Act imposed by it on the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) workers after they went on a flash strike in July.
The Namma Metro Employees Association had questioned the State government's move to bring them under the ESMA Act and had moved the High Court. The court which heard their petition has now stayed the state government's effort to curb their rights to strike as the Act restricts them from striking work.
It may be recalled here that the BMRCL staff had stayed off from their work after a fight broke out between their colleagues and the Karnataka Industrial Security Force personnel in July. After the clash, the police had taken some of the BMRCL staff into custody which had irked their colleagues who launched a flash strike leaving lakhs of Bengalureans in the lurch. The protesting employees were also unhappy over the apathy of the administration in fulfilling their promises made by the BMRCL.
The High Court after hearing their plea has now issued notices to the Central government, State government and also the BMRCL Managing Director against the ESMA Act on the BMRCL staff. The petitioner the Namma Metro Employees' Association had claimed that the BMRCL employees cannot be brought under the ESMA as Metro comes under railways.
Every day at least over three lakh passengers ride on the green and purple corridors of Namma Metro. 'Namma Metro' has a track length of 42.3 km with 40 stations in two corridors, namely East-West and North-South Corridor for Phase-I. The East-West corridor has 18.1 km and 17 stations, while the North-South corridor has 24.2 Km and 24 stations.