Right to strike is not a fundamental right

The case of Kameshwar Prasad is considered as a major Judgment on the Right to Strike by the Supreme Court, where the Hon’ble Court refused to declare right to strike as a fundamental right but also struck down a rule of government service that imposed blanket ban on any kind of demonstration by government servants : Patna High Court .


The Patna High Court passed the judgment on 22.02.1962, declaring right to strike as not to be a fundamental right. The case Kameshwar Prasad v. State of Bihar was presided by Just. Gajendra Gadkar, Just. P V Sarkar, Just. A K Wanchoo, Just. K N Gupta, Just. K C Das, Just. Ayyangar and Just. N Rajagopala, having citation 1962 AIR 1166 .



The case reached to the Supreme Court by the way of appeal from the Patna High Court and the issue was related to the Constitutional validity of Rule 4A which was introduced into the Bihar Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1956, by the notification of the Governor of Bihar dated 16th August and reads:

4A: Demonstration and Strike:

No Government servant shall participate in any demonstration or resort to any form of strike in connection with any matter pertaining to his conditions of service.

The rule prohibits the government servant from participating in any:



In connection with any matter of the conditions of their services.



After hearing both sides arguments the Court came into the conclusionas:

The court unable to accept that the Constitution excludes government servants as a class from the protection of several rightsguaranteed by the several articles in Part 3.

No doubt if the rule were so framed as to single out those types of demonstration which were likely to lead to a disturbance of public tranquility or which “would fall under the other limiting criteria specified in Article 19(2) the validity of the rule could have been sustained.”

By accepting the contention that the freedoms guaranteed by Part III and in particular those in Art. 19(1)(a) apply to the servants of government we should not be taken to imply that in, relation to this class of citizen ‘the responsibility arising from official position would not by itself impose some limitations on the exercise of their rights as citizens.

The supreme court therefore allowed the appeal in part and granted the appellants a declaration that r. 4A in the form in which it then stands prohibiting “any form of demonstrations” is violative of the appellants’ rights under Art. 19(1)(a) & (b) and should therefore be stuck down.

It is only necessary to add that the rule, in so far as it prohibits a strike, cannot be struck.

There is no fundamental right to resort to a strike.

Click here for the judgement


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