Mumbai: Observing that the impact of a fare hike is a matter of serious concern for commuters, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed Mumbai Autorickshaw Union to restrain its members from going on a 72-hour strike from tomorrow.
The Advocate General told the court today that the state government was prepared to invoke Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) to prevent the strike.
The direction was given by a division bench headed by Justices D Y Chandrachud after Advocate General Darius Khambata said the government would hear all the parties on the issue of fare hike and other matters.
Khambata said a meeting of high-level officials is proposed to be held tomorrow by the Transport Secretary in which all the parties, including the unions, would be invited to have their say.
This was an ongoing process and the meeting was not being called merely because the unions have called a strike, he told the Court which was hearing an application filed by Mumbai Grahak Panchayat seeking an injunction against the Unions going on strike.
The court told the Unions that they were very much aware that this matter had been fixed for final hearing on September 25. Instead of calling the strike to demand a fare hike, the unions should have approached the Court with a civil application to redress their grievance.
"The judicial process is already on and at this stage if you (unions) take law in your hands, then how would the step to uphold the dignity of law prevail?," the court said.
The Mumbai Autorickshaw Union led by Sharad Rao had announced a 72-hour strike from August 21, seeking a fare-hike and implementation of other recommendations of Hakim Committee appointed by the state earlier.
Hearing the matter yesterday, the same bench had remarked "if you (the union) have problems, then go to the government or come to court. Every time you cannot threaten to strike and cause inconvenience to lakhs of commuters."
The Advocate General told the court today that the government was prepared to invoke Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) to prevent the strike.
The Maharashtra government had informed the High Court last month during the hearing of the petition that there would be no hike in fares in the near future.