On 28th March 2022, a division bench of the Kerala High Court passed an order declaring a strike by government employees illegal. It called upon the Kerala government to ban the strike.
28th March marked the first day of a two day all India Strike called by the Central Trade Unions and Federations. Most of the employees of the Kerala government had decided to participate in the strike.
According to the court, government employees going on strike was against Rule 86 of the Kerala Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 1960. The court declared “Reading of Rule 86 makes it manifestly clear that no Government servant shall engage himself in any strike or in any similar activities.”
It further noted that the Kerala government had not issued any directions to prevent government employees from going on strike. “It is the duty of the Government to prevent the Government servant from joining in strikes.” The court directed the State to issue appropriate orders immediately to prevent the Government employees from going on strike and also to issue necessary orders to all the Heads of the Departments to ensure that Rule 86 is not violated and in case of violation, to take appropriate action.
Following the court order, the Kerala government issued the order according to which the employees who went on strike shall not be eligible for pay and allowance for the days of the strike. Further, these two days shall not even be counted for earned leave.
The ruling of the Kerala High Court is an attack on the democratic rights of workers.
However, despite the court ruling, the government employees of Kerala vigorously participated in the General Strike.