The Delhi High Court today directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to not take any coercive steps against its nurses in connection with the indefinite strike called by the AIIMS Nurses Union in December last year (AIIMS vs AIIMS Nurses Union).
The direction was passed by a single-judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh after counsel for the Nurses Union assured the Court that in future, there shall be no strike or threat of strike by the nurses without following the procedure prescribed under the Industrial Disputes Act.
The Court noted that nurses performed an essential service, especially during the time of the pandemic and ordered that the ongoing conciliation proceedings between the two parties should be concluded expeditiously within three months.
AIIMS had moved the High Court last year after its Nurses Union went on an indefinite strike over several demands, including the “payment fixation exercise” under the Sixth Central Pay Commission and 80% reservation for female nurses.
The Court had then passed an interim order restraining the Union from continuing with their indefinite strike.
AIIMS had contended that the strike was illegal and in violation of the Industrial Disputes Act as no six-week notice in terms of Section 22 was served.
Today, the counsel for the Union, advocate Santhosh Krishnan informed the Court that a Conciliation Officer has already been appointed as per the Industrial Disputes Act to investigate the grievances.
He also prayed for a direction from the Court to shield the nurses from any corrective action by AIIMS administration. It was also argued that a writ petition was not maintainable against a trade union.
Counsel for AIIMS, advocate V Shashank submitted that there were no objections from their end if the conciliation proceedings were directed to continue.
During the hearing, the Court observed that strike was matter of right under the Industrial Disputes Act and the same could be availed by the Nurses Union after following the procedure under the Industrial Disputes Act.
The petition was accordingly disposed of.