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Plea in SC against PSEs for opening offices during lockdown

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) A PIL has been moved in the Supreme Court against the ‘illegal opening’ of offices during the nationwide lockdown by Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) such as SAIL and NBCC etc by ‘wrongly identifying and equating themselves as government department/offices’.

The plea moved through advocate Anil K Aggarwal by the petitioner contended that the plea is in the larger public interest and raised grave issues and concerns about public health and safety due to illegal opening of offices and resumption of operations by unexempted central PSEs/government-owned companies such as SAIL and NBCC which deal in non-essential goods and services.

The plea sought directions to the Centre to find out PSEs/companies involved in the manufacture, distribution, supply or sale of non-essential and unexempted goods and services but which opened offices and resumed operations during the lockdown. It demanded disciplinary action against the CMDs and Board of Directors of all such PSEs/companies.

The petition contended that these companies have wrongly identified and equated themselves as government departments/offices under the control of different Ministries and/or Departments of the central government, overlooking the health safety concerns of the employees and their family members.

The petition submitted these companies “issued orders to their employees to step out of their houses and attend office and resume their duties during the lockdown period w.e.f. April 20, in abject and manifest violation of the statutory order and regulatory guidelines issued by the central government declaring the countrywide lockdown.”

The petition argued the direction passed by these companies are against the restrictions on movement and preventive measures taken by the central government/government of NCT of Delhi to somehow contain the spread of deadly COVID-19 infection.

The plea urged the apex court to issue directions to these PSEs to immediately close down all their offices and operations during the entire period of the lockdown or till such period extended by the Centre, and also grant paid leave to their employees for the entire lockdown period.

–IANS

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