Tuesday, August 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Ruling on right to strike should be reviewed

The editorial Supreme Court strikes a blow (Aug 8) rightly points out the possible difficulties in the enforcement of the judgement, which takes the form of a law of the land under Article 141 of the Constitution and reminds the employees of their responsibilities. The ruling should be reviewed by a Constitution Bench in view of its importance.

The right to strike is not a fundamental right of the employees but is certainly a legal right aimed at fuller enjoyment of the fundamental right to association. Article 19 (1) (c) provides the freedom to achieve meaningful collective bargaining as an important milestone towards harmonious relations between employers and their workmen. The Industrial Disputes Act, the premier law on industrial relations, may not be much appreciated in the present climate as it provides liberal rights to strike and lock-out to both workers and employers as coercive means to be used in collective bargaining caring least for the societal interest.

The seven-Judge Bench of Supreme Court in Bangalore Water Supply (1978) declared majority of the government departments and PSUs falling within the ambit of industry thereby attracting the provisions of the ID Act. The Tamil Nadu case decided by a two-Judge Bench needs to be made readable in harmony with the Bangalore Water Supply ruling.


If the Supreme Court judgment aims at making government employees behave as responsible citizens by exercising the right to strike very sparingly, it is a welcome step. However, for this, alternative mechanisms and a machinery for the speedy redressal of their grievances need to be created and put into gear without any delay. Many state governments do not have the State Administrative Tribunals.

The Supreme Court perhaps did not want the governments and employers to become dictators capable of snatching the rights of their employees. It wanted both employers and employees to work in harmony for the betterment of society while discharging their obligations under the provisions of the law. This signal, however, needs to given by the Supreme Court clearly and in direct terms. The agitators against the decision should wait for some time.

— DR SUBHASH C. SHARMA, Reader, Law Department,
GND University Regional Campus, Jalandhar


Of late, it has been a habit for employees to go on strike at the drop of a hat. They are bothered about their rights rather than duties. The judgement is very timely and is in the best interest of the public as well as the nation. It shall give fillip to efficiency in the offices and industries.

The single most effective instrument in operation in the US is that they have adopted the policy of “hire and fire”, i.e rewarding the efficient and sacking the shirkers. It is a tough proposition, but if enacted, our country shall be in the forefront of the powerful nations.

— J.K. MAGO, Panchkula


The Supreme Court after considering a number of legal, social and economic conditions in the country, has put a blanket ban on strikes by government employees. It is a fact that the force behind any strike by employees is political parties, who, for their political gains, take resort to bandhs and dharnas which cause a lot of inconvenience to the general public and result in loss of property and life. Bandhs and dharnas by political parties should also be banned.

— H.K. SHARMA, Nawanshahr


Giving gurukuls a bad name

Mr D.R. Chaudhary’s article Land cannot absorb the rural youth in Haryana(August 6) contains incorrect images regarding gurukuls in Haryana. He disregards their contribution towards society and social reforms brought by the Arya Samaj in pre- and post-independence times. Calling the gurukuls as hotbeds of obscurantism and fanaticism means the writer is ignorant about the socio-economic changes brought by the Arya Samaj and gurukuls that had been the flag-bearer of social equality and fight against untouchability. It believes in real secularism, pluralism and socialism even today.

In fact, in Haryana, gurukuls are the seats of teaching sanskaras and moral education to the siblings, the factual way of living in a society full of sorrow, anarchy with many evils. These don't make a person like the one expressed by the writer. You can find many persons from these institutions holding good positions in society. No fundamentalism is taught there.

To say that gurukuls are responsible for social divisions is unfortunate. Intellectuals are creating a division in society on the caste line which again is against brotherhood and principles of gurukuls.



Tourism in Himachal

Himachal, the land of Goddesses, hold vast potential for promotion of tourism as a commercial venture which can be a major source of income to this economically poor state leaning heavily on Central grants and loans. Its scenic beauty, invigorating, pollution-free and salubrious climate combined with its rich heritage, exuberant flora and fauna offers captivating and enticing resorts to all types of tourists, especially the foreigners.

State-owned enterprises have generally failed to run profitably. Privately managed enterprises where efficiency and profitability matter most convert the most difficult ventures into highly profitable institutions. Tourism is no exception. In this highly competitive field, the involvement of private entrepreneurs, investors is imperative if this 'gold mine' of Himachal is to be fully exploited. If adequate infrastructural facilities are made available and substantive partnership package is offered, private investors and entrepreneurs would willingly participate even in joint ventures for the mutual benefit of the state and the private partner (s).

A virgin and beautiful locale is at the base of Bachhretu Fort, fronting the Govind-Sagar lake. The water level of the lake here remains more or less static throughout the year. A backwater channel forms an artificial lake with the seasonal rise of water level in the Govind Sagar Lake. Two hillocks through which this water channel passes rear-wards offer excellent anchorage to a 'Bund', which with a sluice gate can regulate the inflow of water into the backwater channel, thus converting it into a linear, fairly broadish artificial lake. This commands excellent view of the Govind Sagar Lake and the picturesque surrounding hills. Ferry services operating across the Govind-Sagar Lake would provide short and direct link to Naina Devi — Bhakhara Nangal road and in the hinterland connect it with Una Kodhra-Shah Talai road.

Even though the proposed site lies in the remote region of Gehrwin constituency in Bilaspur district, its proximity to Kutlehar constituency of Una district would provide ample scope for economic development of this entire region and place this beautiful site on the International tourist map. The project would, no doubt, require substantive investment. If it is properly advertised at home and abroad, private investors would be willing to participate in this venture.

The state government, especially the Chief Minister, who has evinced great interest in tourism, would be well advised to have the proposed site critically examined with a view to establishing a major tourist complex at this locale.

— H.S. CHANDEL, MalangarTop

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