Decided on December 26,2007

Akhil Bhartiya Employees Provident Fund Staff Federation Appellant
Union of India And Ors. Respondents


Gita Mittal, J. - (1.) THIS writ petition raises certain fundamental questions relating to the recognition of trade unions, their entitlement to claim membership verification by a particular process and maintainability of a writ petition at the instance of one trade union against the Management pleading illegality in membership verification and the consequential withdrawal of a provisional recognition given to it. The Constitution of India under Article 19(1)(c) recognizes the rights of the citizens to form a trade union/association. The Trade Union Act, 1926 governs and recognizes the right of registration of a trade union. The trade union embodies the collective bargaining powers of the workmen of an industry. In organisations having only one registered trade union, there is no difficulty as to the trade union which shall represent the will and aspirations of the entire work force of the organisation. However, a difficulty has been arisen in organisations where there is more than one trade union. This is more so in the case of national level organizations as banks etc.
(2.) IN the instant writ petition, two trade unions, the petitioner and the respondent no. 4 of the Employees Provident Fund Organization (hereinafter referred to as the 'EPFO'), are at logger heads over the provisional recognition granted by the respondent no. 2 to the petitioner. The petitioner, the Akhil Bhartiya Employees Provident Fund Staff Federation, was established in the year 2002 and claims to be a federation of the staff of the Employees Provident Fund Organization. By a letter dated 30th June, 2002, the Executive President of the petitioner informed the Chairman of the Central Board of Trustees of the Employees Provident Fund Organization of its constitution and particulars of the members of its Executive Committee. Shri M.V. Mukandan was appointed its Secretary General, who has filed the present writ petition as well. The petitioner wrote a further letter dated 24th December, 2002 to the Central Provident Fund Commissioner informing that recognized unions of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Gujarat, New Delhi - R.O., West Bengal and Uttaranchal were affiliated to its federation and that it has a total membership of more than 35% of the total strength of the Employees Provident Fund Organization. The petitioner by this communication sought recognition status from the organization.
(3.) IT appears that a prior representation in this behalf had been submitted to the then Labour Minister on 7th October, 2002 asserting that the Government of India in its order dated 3rd July, 2002 and 23rd September, 2002 had declared that recognition can be granted if the membership of the affiliated unions/associations taken together constitutes a minimum of 15% of the entire work force of the concerned organization. The petitioner, therefore, contended that it was entitled to be granted recognition. This letter was followed by a communication dated 10th February, 2003 also addressed to the Minister for Labour in his capacity as the Chairman of the Central Board of Trustees of the Employees Provident Fund Organization informing that recognized unions and associations of 10 regions and unions of 10 SROs were affiliated to it and thus it was "representing more than 50% of the total workman of the EPFO". On this basis, it was reminded that the request for recognition of the federation was pending and that the same deserved to be granted at the earliest.;

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