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Delhi High Court Reinstates 272 HT Workers With Back Wages

November 19, 2014

According to Sujata Madhok, President of the Delhi Union of Journalists (pictured here), the Delhi High Court has ordered the reinstatement of 272 employees with wages for nine years. Here is a statement issued by DUJ: 

'The Delhi Union of Journalists welcomes the judgement of the Delhi High Court reinstating the 272 workers of the Hindustan Times.


The DUJ congratulates the 272 brave workers of the Hindustan Times Ltd for their historic victory against the management. Justice Suresh Kait has termed their retrenchment arbitrary, upheld the earlier judgement of the Industrial Tribunal and granted them reinstatement in service with back wages for the past nine years.

The Tribunal had on January 23, 2012 ordered reinstatement of the workers but the Hindustan Times management chose to drag its feet on the issue, seeking to divide the workers and evade the order. The High Court order of Nov. 17, 2014 not only upholds the Industrial Tribunal order but in addition clarifies that full back wages must be paid.


The order says, “reinstatement with full back wages is the proper relief to which the workmen are entitled, especially when their termination from services nine years back was based on a fictitious/sham transaction.”

It also says, “In case the relief of back wages is denied to the workmen, it would tantamount to placing a premium on the fraudulent conduct of the management which by its order of dismissal has virtually deprived hundreds of workmen of right to life and livelihood.”


Further the order states, “It is pertinent to point out here that 13 workmen have already died while fighting for their rights. Some of them if reinstated today had substantial remaining period of service. Several workmen had lost their family members as they did not have the necessary financial assistance or support to seek medical remedies.”


While hailing the verdict the Delhi Union of Journalists demands that the Hindustan Times management provide immediate relief to the workers by reinstating them and paying them their back wages. The DUJ thanks senior advocate Colin Gonsalves for his stellar role in fighting for the workers’ rights. 


The judgement, the DUJ believes, will strengthen the workers’ resolve to struggle for implementation of their rights. It will also provide hope to the retrenched journalists and other workers who are fighting several court battles against the Hindustan Times management.'




Can Doordarshan & AIR be India's BBC?

November 19, 2014

In an article in the Op-ed page of the Times of India (see link below), Prasar Bharati's CEO Jawahar Sircar cites many reasons why public broadcaters, Doordarshan and All India Radio, cannot be India's BBC. There have been no new recruits for the past twenty years, he says. More than half their 30,000 employees are engaged in maintaining transmitters (2,000), radio stations (414) and studios (67). The country spends far less per person on Doordarshan and All India Radio than Norwar or the UK, he laments. The UK spents $111 per person and Norway $164. Each Indian's contribution is just 33 cents. Multiply this by the population and India's s spending on its public broadcasters would be $400 million against Norway's $840 million and UK's $7 billion. Sircar ignores that BBC is a much bigger,indeed global, operation. It has correspondents and bureaus in many countries and the quality of both journalism and production is superb. Will more money for our public broadcasters mean wider and better coverage?

The lack of autonomy is often blamed for Doordarshan's stodgy coverage but are the broadcasters ready for it? '(I)t is futile to imagine than an orthodox organization manned by government employees is actually pining for it,' says Sircar. 'One learnt this the hard way,' he admits referring to his attempt to inject professionalism into the organization by engaging outside talent on contract. Anchor Ajai Shukla resigned within a few days. In September last year, Sircar wrote a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari complaining of interference by the ministry. And earlier this year, during the Lok Sabha campaign he hinted that portions of BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi interview to Doordarshan were edited at the ministry's behest.

Photo courtesy: The Hindu


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