Decided on May 03,1974

KANNAN C Appellant


- (1.) The petitioner is the President of the Kerala State Committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and the President of the Azhicode Power loom Mills Workers' Union, Azhicode. The question raised in this petition concerns the conduct of the police in regard to satyagraha and other forms of agitation resorted to by the workmen of Ravikrishna Mills and Usha Textiles, both at Azhicode, to press, what according to them are, their legitimate demands. The petitioner complains of certain mass retrenchments of workmen which, according to him, was malafide and unjustified. It is said that the District Labour Officer called a conciliation conference on 15-2-1974 but the management refused to attend it. The District Labour Officer called a conference a second time and then too the management is said to have refused to attend the conference. It is said that in these circumstances the Union was compelled to call for a strike on 26-2-1974. It is the petitioner's complaint that as a revenge against the strike the management declared lock-out of the factories from 27-2-1974.
(2.) The complaint in the petition is that the workers who have a right to perform satyagraha are not allowed to do so and are effectively obstructed by being asked to remain 200 yards away from the gate and not go anywhere near the premises of the factories for performing satyagraha or holding demonstrations. It is said that the workers who approach the factory gates for performing satyagraha are being arrested by the police. The challenge is mainly to the conduct of the police prohibiting the workmen from going anywhere near 200 yards of the gate.
(3.) A counter affidavit has been filed by the Sub Inspector of Police, Baliapatam. Reference is made to an order passed by this Court to afford police protection to the management as against the workers in O. P. 1222 of 1974. It is said that pursuant to that order the police removed the workers who were in the premises of the factory and after this there was no occasion for the police to interfere with the peaceful demonstration of the workers before the factory gate.;

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