HC quashes govt order exempting BATL from trade union act

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  • Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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  • Govt had ordered exemption of BATL from the provisions of the Kerala Registration of Trade Union Act

    The Kerala High Court has quashed a government order exempting BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL), a subsidiary of BrahMos Aerospace, from the provisions of Trade Union Act.

    Justice C K Rehim yesterday passed the order on a petition filed by the BrahMos Staff Association (INTUC) and the BrahMos Employees Union (CITU).

    The impugned government order had exempted BATL, a subsidiary of Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace, from the provisions of the Kerala Registration of Trade Union Act.

    The court held that the government had passed the order violating the principles of natural justice and hence it cannot be sustained in the eye of the law.

    According to the petitioners, since BATL was a private company, exempting it from the act's purview was 'illegal'. The central government had only 50.5 per cent of equity shares in the company while the rest is held by the Russian government.

    Petitioners contended that only a government company can be exempted from the provisions of the Act.

    The court directed the government to initiate fresh proceedings on the application from the company seeking exemption from the trade union act.

    The state had contended that if trade union activities were permitted at BATL, it would be difficult for the company to survive and make progress and this would affect the defence preparedness of the country.

    The government had in March 2007 handed over the erstwhile Kerala Hi-Tech Industries Ltd (Keltec) to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

    When the Keltec was taken over by BrahMos, the trade union leaders had agreed to stop union activites in the company and transform their union activities in the form of workmen welfare committee, the government stated.


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