Delhi HC notice to Centre on plea against ban on strikes under def services law

DELHI HIGH Court Thursday issued notice to the Centre on a petition challenging provisions of Essential Defence Services Act, 2021, which allow government to prohibit strikes by those engaged in essential defence services.

A division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Amit Bansal after hearing arguments in the petition filed by All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF), a body of more than 400 trade unions that represents civilian employees in defence establishments, including ordnance factories, listed the matter for hearing on November 16.

Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh, representing the AIDEF, argued that it has been held that strike is only a form of demonstration, which is an important weapon in the workers’ armoury. The right is recognised by almost all democratic nations, Parikh said.

However, the court said: “This whole new thing is for essential defence services, which has direct nexus with the defence services. Now even in essential defence service, you people want to go on strike? Then military people will also say like this,” it said. “Suppose a war is going on and you people go on strike, what will happen.”

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