रेलवे बोर्ड (RAILWAY BOARD)


No.2019/E(LR)III/SBE/1 New Delhi, Dated 16.08.2019

The General Managers,

All Zonal Railways


Metro Railway, Kolkata

Sub: “Secret Ballot Election-2019” (for short, ‘SBE-2019’) for verification of membership of Trade Unions (i.e. TUs) in order to grant them recognition on Zonal Railways – reg. “Final Modalities”.

Ref: Railway Board’s letter Nos. 2017/E(LR)II/LR/Misc/1 dt.31.05.2019; ERB-I/2019/23/24 dt.10.06.2019; 2019/E(LR)III/ SBE/1 dt.26.06.2019; dt.04.07.2019 & 01.08.2019.

Attention is drawn to Railway Board’s letter No. E(LR) III/2000/LR 1-30 dated 26.06.2002 on the subject of grant of recognition to Trade Unions. This letter was issued in supersession of earlier letter No. E(LR)I/83/NM1-23 dated 28.10.1985, and, therefore, by implication, it superseded Railway Board’s letters No. E(L)61 UT 1-95-I dated 19.09.1961 & E48UT1-17A dated 27.05.1949.

  1. However, aforementioned letter dated 26.06.2002 came under judicial scrutiny before High Court, Madras in Writ Appeal 3168/2002 – date of Judgment 17.10.2003(SRMU vs Railway Board and Ors.). Afterwards, pursuant to Supreme Court’s orders dated 08.03.2004 in “Railway Board vs. Southern Railway Mazdoor Union & Ors” [SLP (C) Nos. 3780/2004 & 23578/2003] followed by High Court, Delhi’s orders dated 22.03.2007 in “UOI vs Bhartiya Railway Mazdoor Sangh” [LPA 23/2007], Zonal Railways have been holding ‘Secret Ballot Elections’(i.e. SBE) for the purpose of verification of membership of the TUs and consequent granting of ‘Recognition’ to successful TUs. Such SBEs have been held, on previous occasions in Nov.-Dec., 2007 and Mar.-Apr. 2013, in accordance with respective “Final Modalities” for conduct of SBEs.
  2. Railway Board, vide referred letter dated 10.06.2019, constituted a “Secret Ballot Election Committee” (SBEC) to (i) frame the “Modalities” for SBE-2019 and, inter alia, (ii) be a nodal body for conduct and supervision of SBE-2019.
  3. Thereafter, SBEC, vide referred letter dated 04.07.2019, has invited comments/suggestions, on “Draft Modalities”, from registered Trade Unions desirous of participating in SBE-2019. A number of TUs have sent numerous comments/suggestions. SBEC has taken into account (wherever feasible, justified and

practical) these comments/suggestions received up to 10.07.2019 and framed “Final Modalities for holding of Secret Ballot Elections for recognition of Trade Unions in Indian Railways, 2019”- i.e., for short, ‘Final Modalities-2019’.

  1. The question of validity of constitution of a committee (i.e. SBEC) for deciding “Modalities” for holding of Secret Ballot Elections has already been decided in Railways’ favour vide judgment dated 18.09.2007 of High Court of Delhi in “Dakshin Railway Employees Union vs UOI” [WP(C) 6846/2007 & CM 12988-989/2007].
  2. Furthermore, the question – “Whether a Trade Union registered on All-India basis has any right to fight all Zonal level election?” – has been settled in Railways’ favour by the High Court, Delhi vide their Judgment dated 10.03.2017 in “All India Railway Employees Confederation vs The Chairman, Railway Board & Ors” [WP(C) No. 8212 of 2007] with these observations:

“..The action of respondent Railways…of not allowing the petitioner, an All India level Trade Union, to seek recognition at Zonal level is thus not found to be contrary to the Manual or otherwise bad in law. As aforesaid, recognition is not a right of the petitioner as a Trade Union and the respondent Railways, as employer, if of the view that the negotiations should be at different levels with different Unions and so lays down procedure for recognition thereof, is entitled to do so…”

  1. Final Modalities-2019’, duly approved by the Railway Board, is enclosed for information and necessary action by all concerned. It has been uploaded on the official website i.e. → Railway Board → Directorates → Secret Ballot Election Committee. It is directed that ‘Final Modalities-2019’ should be re-circulated and be given wide publicity by uploading it on Zonal Railways’ websites.

The dates etc. of SBE-2019 will be advised later on.

DA: As above

( Alok Kumar )

Executive Director Estt.(IR)

& Convener,

Download Final Modalities of Secret Ballot Elections