UNITED EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION Vs. GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
LAWS(KER)-2003-5-5
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Decided on May 27,2003

UNITED EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION Appellant
VERSUS
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned counsel appearing for respondents 3 and 4.
(2.) The petitioner, the United Employees Association, represented by its General Secretary, filed this O.P. for directing the 2nd respondent, the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), Ernakulam, to conduct a referendum as requested in Ext. P1 at the earliest. Ext. P1 is a request made before the Assistant Labour Commissioner by the Cochin Steamer Agents Association. The Cochin Steamer Agents Association is an association registered under the Travancore - Cochin (Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies) Registration Act. The request made before the Asst. Labour Commissioner was to take steps to conduct a referendum so that the strength of each union under the USA Pool can be assessed. Ext. P1 request also would reveal that the request was made due to the compulsion or pressure exerted from the part of the petitioner union. The recital in Ext. P1 reads: The new Unions in order to show their strength had made certain demonstrations on 2nd June surrounding the office of the Cochin Steamer Agents Association and created a tense situation wherein the management were forced to agree to request you to conduct a referendum to ascertain the strength of the respective unions. The above recital would indicate that because of the pressure exerted on the Cochin Steamer Agents Association, such a request was made.
(3.) The learned counsel appearing for the 4th respondent submitted that the prayer for conducting of a referendum cannot be allowed in view of the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Chakola Spinning and Weaving Mill v. Chackola T.M.T. Union ( 2002 (1) KLT 578 ) Paragraph 4 of the above judgment would make it clear that the petitioner has no right to approach this Court by filing an Original Petition for directing the conduct of a referendum. Paragraph 4 of the judgment reads: It is a fundamental principle of administration of justice that where there is a right, there will be a remedy. The source of right can be statute, custom or contract. In the case at hand, the Writ Petitioner to succeed should show that the second respondent has got a duty to hold referendum to ascertain the relative strength of the trade unions for the purpose of granting recognition. If there is such a duty cast on the second respondent Labour Commissioner, it may create a corresponding right in the Writ Petitioner which is a trade union of the workmen under the fourth respondent. In the absence of any such right, the petitioner is not entitled to get any relief from this Court. The Cochin Steamer Agents Association being a private association, it was not competent to request the Labour Commissioner to make a referendum and the 2nd respondent cannot be directed to conduct a referendum as prayed for. Hence this O.P. has only to be dismissed.;


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