Ambulance Workers warned against Strike in Tamil Nadu by Madras High Court
[October 13, 2017]
The Interim Orders
The petitioner S Patrick, an advocate, as per information obtained by him under the RTI Act, 2005, said that the union proposes to go on a 24-hours from 8 pm on October 17 till 8 pm on October 18. The Madras High Court warned the ambulance workers union in Tamil Nadu of contempt action if goes ahead with a proposed 24-hour strike from November 17 evening. Passing interim orders restraining the ‘108’ Ambulance Workers Union and its members from taking recourse to strike, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar said no member of the union shall stay away from duty. The court held that trade union has announced an indefinite stir will do so at their own risk of consequences thereof including penalizing for gross contempt of court. Any member refraining to drive the ambulance and perform duty in case of emergency either on October 17 or 18, they The bench also orally observed, “If they go on strike, terminate them.
Contempt of Court Act, 1971
The contempt proceedings take place under the Contempt of Court Act, 1971. It extends to the whole of India and not to State of Jammu and Kashmir except to the extent it involves the contempt of the Supreme Court of India. Contempt of court includes both civil and criminal contempt under Indian law.
Right to Strike
In T.K. Rangarajan vs. Government of Tamil Nadu and Others (the Tamil Nadu Government Employees Case), Justice M.B. Shah, speaking for a Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of himself and Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, said, “Now coming to the question of right to strike — whether fundamental, statutory or equitable moral right to strike — in our view no such right exists with the government employee.” In 1961, the Supreme Court held that even a very liberal interpretation of Article 19 (1)(c) cannot lead to the conclusion that the trade unions have a guaranteed right to strike as part of collective bargaining or otherwise [1962 (3) SCR 269]. The Supreme Court in the instant case also referred to Kameswar Prasad vs. the State of Bihar (1962) Supplement 3 SCR 369 in holding there is no fundamental right to strike. The Supreme Court following its earlier judgments said that there is no fundamental right to strike. The Supreme Court goes further and says that there is no moral or equitable justification to go on strike.