The Central PWD Engineers Association filed a motion in the case of CPWD v. Union of India contesting a decision of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) that denied the association’s request for continued recognition because the association had not submitted the necessary paperwork. The CAT determined that the association was not qualified to receive the advantages that were provided to them. The CAT did, however, request that the respondents hurry re-verification and consider continuation of recognition.
The petitioners asserted that after receiving many submissions of information about their members, the respondents did not complete the re-verification process and refused to renew recognition. As a result, the respondents did not fulfil their obligation to do re-verification. Additionally, it was argued that the Central PWD could not decide that the association lacked legitimate recognition because only the Central government has the authority to grant or revoke recognition.
Even though government recognition of such associations may not be a fundamental right, the Delhi High Court’s divisional bench of Justices V Kameswar Rao and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta ruled that employees of the government cannot be denied the fundamental right to form an association, union, or cooperative society.
A Bench also opined that The Central Civil Services Recognition of Service Associations Rules’ principal goal is to recognise any service association to support legal labour activities that would facilitate discussions and preserve good relations between the government and its employees. Even if the duties they may perform in their capacity as public workers may contain freedom limits under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, they cannot be removed from the protection of the rights provided by Part III of the Constitution. The right to form associations, unions, or cooperative societies is protected by Article 19(1)(c) of the Indian Constitution, even if the government may not be required to recognise such associations.
The Bench further stated that the association’s and its officers’ rights and privileges could not be suspended while the request for continued recognition was being considered. It must be recognised that, notwithstanding a delay of around one year and eight months, actions were taken on behalf of the Petitioner Association to continue recognition through various communications. As a result, the Court instructed the respondents to make a wise choice on the continuation of recognition. The Court did, however, make it clear that the government’s recognition of such organisations may not represent a basic right.
The Court determined after reviewing the evidence that the re-verification process was necessary and had to be followed by regulations. Additionally, it was determined that the OM’s treatment of the association as unrecognised without seeking Central government consent should be annulled. As a result, the Court overturned the tribunal’s decision to reject the request to have the office memo quashed.