ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Right of Unions to Demonstrate Peacefully

A recent ruling by the Madras High Court adjudicates in favour of trade unions' right to hold demonstrations, albeit peacefully. It also questions whether such a demonstration by a recognised offi cers' association amounts to "misconduct".

There have been serious attempts in recent times to curb the rights of trade unions to organise strikes and hold peaceful demonstrations in pursuance of their demands. In the wake of liberalisation the state has joined hands with employers to deal with workers who are conscious of their rights with an iron hand, often invoking the provisions of criminal laws. What unfolded in 2012 in the Maruti Udyog factory in Haryana is a clear illustration. The managements of some of the public sector banks seem to be competing with their counterparts in the private sector in handling organised labour “properly”. Against this background a recent decision of the Madras High Court (henceforth HC) (writ appeal 431 and 432 of 2013 and writ petition 16746 of 2013 and connected miscellaneous petitions between Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev and another vs SBI management; judgment of 4 July 2013) in connection with the agitation of the officers of the State Bank of India (SBI) comes as a welcome relief to the working class.

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