Madras HC Interim Stay Order – A hot shot to TCS by FITE

Madras HC Interim Stay Order – A hot shot to TCS by FITE

Story behind the scenes

On Tuesday (13 January 2015) afternoon, Madras High Court issued an order of ad-interim injunction restraining TCS from giving effect to the order of termination of service of the petitioner dated December 22, 2014 pending the disposal of the dispute raised by the petitioner under the Industrial Dispute Act with the Labour Officer in connection with her service termination order issued by TCS. The Honourable Justice M Duraiswamy also directed the Labour officer to commence conciliation proceedings forthwith in respect of the Industrial Dispute raised by the petitioner. The interim injunction is valid for four weeks from the date of issue.

The petitioner is one among the TCSers affected in the recent termination drive from the TCS. She was given the termination letter on December 22, 2014 stating her service will be relieved by 30 days thereof. She attended various discussions organized by the Forum for IT Employees in Chennai and became a member of FITE. She stood with courage and determined to take up a legal battle against TCS decision. Now, she got interim relief.

 It’s not just an individual case! It’s not done individually overnight!

Its indeed a collective team effort of many FITE members , advocates and rights activists along with the petitioner from New Delhi to Chennai.  Here it is the snapshot about how it happened:

9-Jan 2015 , Friday : FITE members met a Senior Counsel in Supreme Court in New Delhi and detailed on the ongoing crisis in the IT industry especially about the TCS terminations. He listened to us and threw a light to go ahead by invoking Industrial Dispute Act. “Even though an IT employee is a white color, he/she is a worker by the nature of the job. Hence, Industrial Dispute Act is very much applicable to an IT employee.” said the Senior Counsel. He advised us to rush up and act fast.

FITE Team at Delhi reached the Chennai team over phone and conveyed the directions given by the Supreme Court Senior counsel. FITE Chennai reached out the Madras HC advocate Ms.Ramapriya Gopalakrishnan over phone and got an appointment to discuss the same.

10-Jan 2015, SaturdayFITE team met Advocate Ramapriya and conveyed the suggestions given by Senior Counsel. She received it passionately and had a detailed discussion with Senior Counsel at Delhi and also with her Senior advocate in Chennai and arrived at the strategy at the end of day. In the late evening, a clear road map is arrived for the upcoming next three days to hit TCS management legally. Yes, Ms. Ramapriya took this case as a challenge with fullest understanding that it revolves around the job security of thousands of employees. On Saturday night, FITE posted the positive signs in the Facebook pages and urged the affected employees to come forward for the action.

 11-Jan 2015 SundayOn Sunday morning, the appointment time to meet the lawyer is fixed and posted in Facebook pages. Messages were sent over phone and email to reach the affected TCSer. With a short notice, five turned up to meet the lawyer. The meeting commenced from 11 am. By 1 pm, the entire team along with the lawyer went to Parry’s Corner to sit with Senior Counsel for another round of discussion. At the end of the day, one affected TCSer, obviously a FITE member too, raised her head saying that “To win or to lose is not important but it is a battle for my self-respect. I am ready”. Others wanted to take a chance by watching the game. Sunday ended with anxieties and time pressure as the only two days left before the Pongal vacation starts for the Madras High Court on Wednesday.

12-Jan 2015 Monday: Started a little late from FITE’s end which resulted in too much pressure for the whole day. Advocate Ramapriya had made everything too fast in an emergency mode of working and helped in filing the Section 2A petition in the labour office at Kuralagam, Chennai. All the five FITE members including the Advocate had to skip the lunch on that day to complete the writ petition. But, that was not enough and we could not file the writ petition on Monday!

13-Jan 2015 Tuesday: The day started with all our fingers crossed. Three activities were planned already for that day. First, a train campaign to reach out fellow ITians to join the struggle for the affected TCSers from 8 am in the IT Corridor. Second, the filing of Writ petition in Madras High Court at 10 am. And the last, the coordination for the Fact finding panel on the termination of employees by TCS at Besant Nagar, Chennai for the whole day since 10 am. With a group of ITians taking vacation full day or partly, all things kept moved on as per the plan.

Writ was filed at 10.30 am. Urgent motion is requested in the afternoon and the request permitted by the Court. Parimala and Nazar reached the Madras High Court by 1.30 pm and joined the petitioner and the advocates. By around 2.30 pm, the interim injunction order is delivered by the Honourable Justice M.Duraiswamy in the view of protecting the rights of the employee. And the entire media and you all know what has happened after.

A collective, committed, hard work with labour friendly senior lawyers, Senior Counsels had resulted in this remarkable judgment. When TCS did not care to give a surprise to its thousands of employees, why not its own employees? FITE will neither be silent nor be a spectator towards this illegal terminations.

IT employees being individuals and murmuring on their issues will not continue for ever and it is nearing to an end!