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HC sends union to labour court

Jamshedpur, Aug. 9: Efforts of the Intuc-affiliated Tata Workers' Union (TWU) in getting back its registration, cancelled by the state labour tribunal, today received a setback with the Jharkhand High Court directing the union to file a fresh petition in the labour court.

The court of S.J. Mukhopadhyay maintained that the union should first approach the tribunal before approaching the high court on the issue of deregistration of the union.

Confirming the court's orders, the state advocate-general Anil Kumar Sinha informed that the court had given the TWU a month's time to move the labour tribunal.

The court's order, maintain union insiders, had come as a jolt for the TWU which was hoping that the high court would rule in its favour.

'The state labour tribunal is under the state government. We are sceptical whether we shall get favourable verdict in the tribunal,' observed TWU functionaries.

Irked by the alleged violation of the union rules and regulations pertaining to the biennial elections held in January this year, the state labour department had cancelled the polls in February and directed the union to organise fresh polls.

While the January elections were on in full swing, a writ petition had been filed by then union vice-president S.N. Singh who had alleged that the proposed elections could not be fair and there were chances of votes being tampered.

The high court intervened in the matter and directed Singh to give a representation in the concerned labour court after which the registrar had issued a notice to the union, directing it to stay the elections.

However, the union went ahead with the poll in which 35,000 employees cast their votes and a new body of office bearers was elected. Representatives of union later claimed before the court that it had not received any notice to stopping the election process.

As the union refused to abide by the directives of the state labour commissioner-cum-registrar Nidhi Khare and did not take any steps to organise fresh polls, the labour department in May de-registered the union.

Protesting against the department's move, the TWU moved the high court asking it to intervene on the issue. It filed two separate petitions in the court, one challenging the cancellation of the polls and the other the de-registration of the union.

According to the state advocate general, the court is yet to pass any orders pertaining to the cancellation of the TWU polls. 'It is expected anytime,' he added. The vice president of TWU, B.K. Dinda, said the union would react only after getting the certified copy of the court's order.

'We shall act in accordance with the orders of the high court,' the senior TWU functionary added.

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