1. The petitioners in this case have filed this revision against their conviction under Sections 4 and 5 of the Essential Services Maintenance Ordinance, 1960, pleading that the said Ordinance is ultra vires of the Constitution of India on the grounds that Sections 3 and 4 of the Ordinance which make the cessation of carrying on an occupation or profession in concert or combination am offence, militate against the fundamental right to form associations or unions guaranteed by Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution, that the Ordinance not being a law in the interests of public order or morality, it is not saved by Article 19(4) of the Constitution, that even if the Ordinance is in the interests of public order, it would be void as public order is an exclusively State subject for legislation, being Item No. 1 in the State List in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, and that Sections 3 and 4 of the Ordinance are also violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution as they place a prohibition and not a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g).
It is further pleaded that the said Ordinance. is discriminatory as it discriminates against the employees as a class as against the employers, who are not prohibited from closing down or declaring a lock out, and is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution, and is also in violation of Article 23 of the-Constitution as the prohibition, of cessation of work amounts to forced labour prohibited by Article 23(1) and is not saved by Article 23(2) as this law is not a law for compulsory service for a public purpose and further that there is discrimination between employees as a class and employers as a class. Sections 3 and 4 of the Ordinance are also pleaded to be contrary to the directive principles or State policy and more particularly those contained in Articles 39 and 43 of the Constitution which are fundamental in the governance of the country and it is the duty of the State to apply those principles in making laws. It is urged that for the abovementioned reasons the Ordinance being invalid and inoperative, the accused are entitled to acquittal.
2. In support of his argument, the counsel for the petitioners cited U.P. Shramik Maha Sangh v. State of U.P. , As a number or similar cases are pending in the Courts below and also in this Court and the points raised in this revision are interesting and important and will have a bearing on other cases, I consider that this revision petition be entrusted to a larger Bench so that a. more authoritative pronouncement may be obtained on the points involved. The papers be placed before my Lord, the Chief Justice, for passing proper orders. Notice be issued to the State. The petitioners are released on bail to the satisfaction of the District Magistrate.