In nullifying a charge memo directed at an employee of Tamil Nadu Grama Bank in Thoothukudi, the Madras High Court emphasised the principle that every employee possesses the "right to express frustration."
The court also highlighted that the management was not permitted to penalize employees for sharing messages on WhatsApp groups wherein they expressed dissenting opinions about the management.
This came to light during the court's review of a petition submitted by A Lakshminarayanan, an employee of Tamil Nadu Grama Bank. He had allegedly been subjected to disciplinary measures due to messages he posted on a WhatsApp group that criticised the authorities.
"There is something called the right to vent. Every employee or member of an organisation will have some issue with the management. It is in the interest of the organisation that the complaints find expression. It will have a cathartic effect. If the image of the organisation is affected, the management can step in, but not till then," Live Law quoted the court as saying while granting relief to the bank employee.
Furthermore, the court highlighted that the Indian Constitution's Article 19(1)(a) secures the right to freedom of speech and expression, unless legally restricted.
The court also remarked that the well-established common law principle, "a man's home is his castle," was pertinent in this context. The court went on to comment that the respondent's stance could be construed as an attempt at thought control or policing.