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In Re In The Matter Of Prevention Of … vs State Of Uttarakhand And Another on 29 August, 2018

IN THE HIGH COURT OF UTTARAKHAND
(Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India)

Writ Petition (PIL) No. 115 of 2018

In the matter of Prevention of Recurrent Strikes
Organized by various Government/Non Government
Unions/Organizations ………Suo Motto PIL

Versus
State of Uttarakhand
And Another …….Respondents
Dated: August 29, 2018

Mr. A.K. Verma and Mr. Ajay Veer Pundir, Advocates (Amicus Curiae) for the petitioner.
Mr. S.N. Babulkar, Advocate General, assisted by Mr. Paresh Tripathi, Chief Standing
Counsel for the State.

Coram:Hon’ble Rajiv Sharma, ACJ.
Hon’ble Manoj K. Tiwari, J.

Rajiv Sharma, ACJ. (Oral)
We have taken cognizance of a letter,
highlighting therein, the tendency of the employees of the
State of Uttarakhand to resort to strikes without any
genuine cause. The strike causes inconvenience to the
general public at large. The indiscriminate strikes impede
the growth of the State. Thousands and thousands of
persons are put to inconvenience during the period of
strikes.

2. We can take judicial notice of the fact that
teachers are also resorting to strikes in the State of
Uttarakhand vitiating the academic atmosphere. The
more alarming is the factum of the Doctors and the
paramedical staffs going on strikes, putting the life of
thousands of citizens at peril. According to the statement
made by learned Chief Standing Counsel, the employees
of the Electricity Department as well as Corporation
including all the public undertakings, owned and
controlled by the State Government, are also resorting to
indiscriminate strikes. Resorting to strike by the
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employees of Electricity Department, including other
Corporations, puts the larger segment of society to
innumerable difficulties. The medical health services,
electricity, water as well as transportation fall within the
‘essential services’. These are to be maintained at every
cost. The employees, though, do have a right of collective
bargaining, but within the parameters of law. They
cannot be permitted to be on strikes perpetually.

3. The State Government has taken a wise step to
frame the Rules called the Uttar Pradesh (Recognition of
Service Associations) Rules, 1979 notified on 02.06.1979.
The State of Uttarakhand has adopted these Rules in
entirety. Rule 4 provides for the conditions to be followed
by recognized Services Associations. Rule 4 (n) and (o) of
the said Rules are extracted below:-

(n) The Service Association shall not urge, exhort,
incite, stir up or assist and aid its members to go on
strike or to adopt ‘go slow’ tactics or any other method
with a view to disturb of obstructing the normal and
smooth functioning of Government work;

(o) that the Service Association shall not directly or
indirectly indulge in any act so as to intimidiate or
obstruct or prevent any Government servant from
attending office or carrying his official duties.

4. Rule 6 provides for the conditions for
recognition of Federation. Rule 7 provides for the
conditions for recognition of Confederation. Rule 8
provides for withdrawal of recognition of Associations/
Federations/Confederations.

5. Since, the employees have been given right to
form federations and confederations, they also have a
corresponding duty to maintain the essential services.

6. Learned Advocate General has drawn the
attention of this Court to the Uttar Pradesh Essential
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Services Maintenance Act, 1966 (hereinafter referred to as
‘Act of 1966’), as applicable to the State of Uttarakhand.
Sub-section (a) and (b) to Section 2 of the Act of 1966
defines as under:-

2. (a) “essential service” means-

(i) any public service in connexion with the affairs of the
State of Uttar Pradesh;

[(ii) any service under an educational institution
recognised by the Director of Education, or by the Board
of High School and Intermediate Education, Uttar
Pradesh, or service under a University incorporated by or
under an Uttar Pradesh Act including any affiliated
college, associated college, autonomous college,
constituent college or Institute of any such University;]

(iii) any service under a local authority ;

(b) “strike” means any cessation of work (including any
unauthorised absence from duty) by a body of persons
employed in any essential service acting in combination
or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common
understanding of any number of persons who are or have
been so employed to continue to work;

[(iv) any service in connection with the U.P. State Co-
operative Land Development Bank or any other State
Level Co-operative Society, mentioned in clause (a-4) of
Section 2 of the Uttar Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act,
1965, or its member cooperative societies, registered
under the said Act;

(v) any service in connection with any Government
Company, in which not less than fifty-one per cent, paid-
up share capital is held by the State Government, or other
statutory body (by whatever name called) established or
constituted by or under any Uttar Pradesh Act;

(vi) any other service connected with matters with respect
to which State Legislature has power to make laws and
which the State Government, being of opinion that strikes
therein would prejudicially affect the maintenance of any
public utility service, the public safety or the maintenance
of supplies and services necessary for the life of the
community or would result in the infliction of great
hardship on the community, may, by notification declare
to be essential service for the purpose of the Act.]

7. Section 3 empowers the State to prohibit in certain
employment, which reads as under:-

3. Power to prohibit strikes in certain employments. – If
the State Government is satisfied that in the public
interest it is necessary or expedient so to do, it may, by
general or special order, prohibit strikes in any essential
service specified in the order.

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(2) An order made under sub-section (1) shall be
published in such manner as the State Government
considers best calculated to bring it to the notice of the
persons affected by the order.

(3) An order made under sub-section (1) shall be in
operation for six months only, but the State Government
may by a like order, extend it for any period not
exceeding six months if it is satisfied that in the public
interest it is necessary or expedient so to do.
(4) During the period of operation of an order under sub-
section (1), any strike by persons employed in any
essential service to which the order relates shall, whether
it is declared or commenced before or after the
commencement of the order, be illegal.

8. Section 4 imposes penalty for illegal strikes,
which reads as under:-

4. Penalty for illegal strikes. – Any person who
commences a strike which is illegal under this Act or goes
or remains on, or otherwise takes part in, any such strike
shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which
may extend to six months or with fine which may extend
to five hundred rupees or with both.

9. It is the duty cast upon the State Government
to ensure that there is no indiscriminate strike by the
employees of the State Government, Public undertakings
owned or controlled by the State of Uttarakhand to
maintain calm and peace in the State. The delivery of
essential services cannot be permitted to be affected.

10. However, at the same time, it is also the duty
of the State to redress the genuine grievances raised by
the employees from time to time.

11. Accordingly, we dispose of the writ petition at
the admission stage by issuing the following directions:-

A. No employees in the State of Uttarakhand, serving
under the State Government as well as Public
Undertakings including Local Authorities, shall resort to
illegal strike. We direct the State Government to invoke
Section 3 of Act of 1966 as adopted by the State of
Uttarakhand to prohibit strikes in certain employments
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by way of publication including Education, Public Health,
Transport Service, Public Works Department, Irrigation
Department, Revenue Department etc.

B. The State Government is authorized to withdraw the
recognition of service association in case the employees
resort to illegal strikes.

C. We direct the State Government to impose penalty, as
provided under Section 4 of the Act, on any person, who
goes or otherwise takes part in any illegal strike.

D. The employees cannot hold the entire system to
ransom. The employees, who resort to illegal strikes, are
not entitled to salary. It shall be open to the State
Government to order break-in-service of the employees
resorting to illegal strikes. The period of willful absence
can also be declared as dies non.

E. We also make it abundantly clear that in the case of
illegal strike, it shall be open to the State Government to
invoke ‘No work No Pay’ principle in the larger public
interest.

F. All the Service Association Federation shall not go on
illegal strikes or go slow practice with a view to disturb or
obstruct the smooth functioning of the Government.

G. Members of the Service Essentials are directed not to
indulge directly or indirectly in any act so as to intimidate
or obstruct or prevent any Government servant from
attending office or carrying his official duties.

H. The State Government is directed to constitute
Redressal Grievance Committees presided over by the
Secretary, Head of Department of the respective
Department with one nominee of the recognized
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Association/Federation/Confederation, to address the
genuine grievance(s) of the employees, within eight weeks
from today. This Committee shall meet after every 3
months.

12. All pending applications stand disposed of
accordingly.

(Manoj K. Tiwari, J.) (Rajiv Sharma, ACJ.)
Aswal

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