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SC bans strike by government employees

August 06, 2003 11:05 IST
Last Updated: August 06, 2003 11:33 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that government employees under no circumstances have any fundamental legal or moral right to go on strike.

Delivering a judgment, while disposing off petitions pertaining to Tamil Nadu government employees' strike, a bench comprising Justice M B Shah and Justice A R Lakshmanan said, "Even the trade unions, who have a guaranteed right for collective bargaining, have no right to go on strike."

Justice Shah writing the judgment for the bench said, "No political party or organisation can claim a right to paralyse the economic and industrial activities of a state or nation or inconvenience the citizens."    

The bench said government employees cannot hold society to ransom by going on strike to ventilate their grievances.

Justice Shah said there are various other ways for ventilating the grievances and observed 'strike results in total chaos and mal-administration'.

In a major concession, the Tamil Nadu government had on Tuesday agreed to take back 8,063 employees out of the 14,135 not reinstated even as the Supreme Court directed appointment of three retired judges of the Madras high court to decide within a month representations of the dismissed staff.

Terming the concession as 'gracious', a bench comprising Justice M B Shah and Justice AR Lakshmanan had also directed the State to treat 2,794 secretariat staff and government employees holding higher posts as having been placed under suspension instead of being dismissed.

The state government had dismissed 1.76 lakh employees invoking an ESMA Ordinance but on the intervention of the apex court had agree to take back 1,56,106 employees who furnished an apology and undertaking not to indulge in strike in future.

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