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Right to Strike

2023 JAN 9

Preliminary   > Constitution   >   Indian Constitution   >   Fundamental rights

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.

About Right to Strike:

  • 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 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.
    • The Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 is subsumed under The Industrial Relations Code, 2020.
  • 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:

  • Right to strike has also been recognised by the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
    • India is a founder member of the ILO.

Important Supreme Court Judgements:

  • Delhi Police v. Union of India (1986)
    • SC 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.
  • T.K. Rangarajan v. Government of Tamil Nadu (2003):
    • SC 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.

PRACTICE QUESTION:

Right to Strike in India is a:

(a) Fundamental Right

(b) Natural Right

(c) Constitutional Right

(d) Legal Right

Answer