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Bombay HC restrains Jalgaon trade union from holding poll amid pandemic

After the court sought to know from the union’s lawyer whether he would make a statement consenting to postponement of the election, the latter submitted that the trade union desired an order from the court in that regard.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
June 1, 2021 4:02:10 am
The lawyer for the company informed the bench that three of its workers had died due to Covid and more were under treatment or under home quarantine. (File Photo)

STATING THAT “heavens would not fall” if a trade union poll was not held, the Bombay High Court, in a recent order, restrained the trade union of a Jalgaon-based firm from holding its elections amid curbs put in place by the state in the wake of the pandemic.

“If the union elections are permitted and if, for any reason, a few voters report positive post elections, and if this leads to loss of life, the entire blame would be on those office bearers of respondent union who are desirous of holding the elections despite such a challenging situation. The blame game may continue, but the loss of human life can never be recovered,” the HC’s Aurangabad bench said last week.

A division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice BU Debadwar was hearing a plea by Sunil Bhavsar, a worker at the company, and others seeking to restrain the trade union from conducting its elections following conclusion of the incumbent union’s three-year term in May.

Advocate PV Barde, arguing for the petitioners, told the court that the union was insisting on holding the election despite the Deputy Registrar, Trade Unions (Nashik Division), and District Collector, Jalgaon, refusing permission for the same.

The lawyer for the company informed the bench that three of its workers had died due to Covid and more were under treatment or under home quarantine.

DR Kale, representing the state, said holding the election would go against the state government’s ‘Break the Chain’ notification — issued a few weeks back to rein in the second surge in Covid cases — which does not allow an assembly of four or more people at a place.

After the court sought to know from the union’s lawyer whether he would make a statement consenting to postponement of the election, the latter submitted that the trade union desired an order from the court in that regard.

The bench observed: “We do not find that heavens would fall if the union elections are not held though the term of the existing elected body is to technically expire on May 25. These are unprecedented situations and this country is facing a challenge to the health of its citizens. It is the responsibility of every citizen to take care of his health and safeguard the health of all other citizens as well.”

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