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Indian Polity

Right to Strike

  • 07 Jan 2023
  • 4 min read

Prelims: Article 19, Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, Fundamental Rights.

Mains: Right to Strike.

Why in News?

The Kerala High Court has reiterated that government employees who participate in general strikes, affecting the normal life of the public and Public Exchequer, are not entitled to be protected under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution and are also a violation of the provisions of the Kerala Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 1960.

What is Right to Strike?

  • About:
    • Strike is the collective refusal by employees to work under the conditions required by employers. Strikes arise for a number of reasons, though principally in response to economic conditions (defined as an economic strike and meant to improve wages and benefits) or labour practices (intended to improve work conditions).
    • In each country whether it is democratic, capitalist, socialist, give the right to strike to the workers. But this right must be the weapon of last resort because if this right is misused, it will create a problem in the production and financial profit of the industry.
    • This would ultimately affect the economy of the country.
    • In India, the right to protest is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
    • But right to strike is not a fundamental right but a legal right and with this right statutory restriction is attached in the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.
  • Position in India:
    • In India, unlike America, the right to strike is not expressly recognized by the law.
    • The trade union Act, 1926 for the first time provided limited right to strike by legalizing certain activities of a registered trade union in furtherance of a trade dispute which otherwise breach of common economic law.
    • Nowadays a right to strike is recognized only to a limited extent permissible under the limits laid down by the law itself, as a legitimate weapon of Trade Unions.
    • The right to strike in the Indian constitution set up is not an absolute right but it flows from the fundamental right to form a union.
    • As every other fundamental right is subject to reasonable restrictions, the same is also the case to form trade unions to give a call to the workers to go on strike and the state can impose reasonable restrictions.
  • Right to strike under International Convention:

What are the Important Supreme Court Judgements related to Right to Strike?

  • The Supreme Court in Delhi Police v. Union of India (1986) upheld the restrictions to form association by the members of the non-gazetted police force after the Police Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966, and the Rules as amended by Amendment Rules, 1970, came into effect.
  • In T.K. Rangarajan v. Government of Tamil Nadu (2003), the Supreme Court held that the employees have no fundamental right to resort to strike. Further, there is prohibition to go on strike under the Tamil Nadu Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 1973.

Source: TH

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