SC upholds provision in I.D. Act

NEW DELHI, JAN. 20. A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the validity of Section 25 (O) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (I.D. Act) as amended in 1982 empowering the appropriate government to grant or refuse permission for intended closure of specified categories of industrial establishments.

Delivering the judgment in a large group of related appeals and writ petitions, Justice S.N. Variava said ``that the amended Section 25 (O) is not ultra-vires the Constitution'' and ``it is saved by Article 19(6) of the Constitution''.

The ``amended Section 25 (O) lays down guidelines which are to be followed by the appropriate government in granting or refusing permission to close down,'' the Bench comprising the Chief Justice, S.P. Bharucha and Justices Syed Shah Mohammed Quadri, N. Santhosh Hegde and Shivraj Patil noted.

The Clause (6) of Article 19 empowers the State to make suitable law imposing ``in the interest of general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of'' the fundamental right to carry on any profession, occupation, trade or business.

Though ``the main consideration would be the genuineness and adequacy of the reasons stated by the employer (in a given case), that cannot be the only consideration,'' the Bench said, adding that ``there could be exceptional circumstances or overriding reasons where, `in the interest of general public', there would have to be restriction on closure'' of a given undertaking falling under the category of `defence' or `essential life-saving drugs' etc.

``The amended Section 25 (O) is very different from Section 25 (O) as it then stood'' which was struck down in 1979 in Excelwear's case on the ground that restrictions imposed were unreasonable.

Recommended for you