Madras HC: Retired employees can form union under the Trade Union Act,1926

The Madras High Court held that it is not necessary that only a serving employee is fit to form a union rather retired employees also have the right to form trade union under the Trade Unions Act 1926.

S. Vaidyanathan said, “The Authority is bound to register the Association formed by the retired employees unless there are any prohibited ground for non-registering the same. In case the Authority finds that the object of formation of the Association is not for espousing the cause of its employees and deviates the conditions stipulated under the Act, 1926, then it is open to the Authority to refuse such registration, but not on the ground that the retired employees will not be entitled to form an Association, thereby discriminating them the employees, are on the roll.”

Deputy Commissioner of Labour refused to allow retired employees of the Karur Vysya Bank to form an association and therefore the court suspended his believing that association or union can be formed by retired employees as well in order to espouse their grievances.

The High Court agreed to the Petitioner’s submission and said that when the Act itself provides an expanded definition or meaning then Authority cannot narrow it down in order to the definition as it would be violative of objects of Trade Union Act and Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. High Court also observed that Section 6(f) when reading closely, it proves that a member of a Union may either be a regular or a retired employee and therefore held that rejecting the application by the respondent for registration of Trade Union was unsustainable. Though, the court clarified that retired employees were not permitted to “join hands” with the Association of current employees.  


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