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HC dubs Bihar government "heartless"

October 24, 2003 20:42 IST

Calling the Bihar government "heartless", the Patna high court on Friday pilloried the state government for not initiating steps for early disbursement of Rs 50 crore deposited in the court among employees of 19 sick public sector undertakings.

"The employees of these closed PSUs are dying of hunger. Their children are being deprived of celebrating festivals for want of money. But the state government is sitting pretty and not even providing office and secretariat staff to the three-member committee constituted by the court for disbursement of money among the staff. It appears the state government has become heartless," a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi S Dhawan and Justice Shashank Kumar Singh said.

The judges' angry reaction followed state counsel Ashok Kumar Singh telling the court that he has read in the newspapers that the government has agreed to provide office and secretariat to the three-member court committee headed by retired judge Uday Sinha but has not received any official communiqué.

The court asked Singh to seek an instruction from the state government on the matter. It also appointed senior advocate Sadanand Jha as amicus curiae to assist the court on the matter relating to payment of post retirement benefits to the PSU employees.

At the request of the state government, Justice Dhawan has also agreed to meet Chief Minister Rabri Devi to resolve the issue. "I am spending sleepless nights because of the plight of the employees," he told Chief Secretary K A H Subramanian.

The matter would next come up for hearing on November 6.

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