Association of Scientific & Technical Officers (ASTO) is a private body of the officers of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) constituted as per the standard clauses of Societies Act for the general welfare of its members and to safeguard their interests. ONGC has recognised the ASTO as a Service Association (but not like ONGC Staff Welfare Committee, which has an ex-officio Pesident under the patronage of CMD of ONGC or Trade Union). With a view to victimizing the striking officers, ONGC , in the recent past, however, has not only disbanded the ASTO or changed its constitution , but is also going ahead with the plans to conduct elections of the new ASTO body at its own as per the constitution drafted by ONGC itself. Unconstitutional provisons to this effect have also been inserted in ONGC(CDA) Rules. .Shameful ! A classical example of high-handedness of the management to interfering into the internal affairs of a private body formed under the democratic norms. At the most ,ONGC can derecognise the ASTO in case of severe proven lapses in terms of well defined rules on Service Associations, that too., after adhering to the prescribed procedure. Unfortunately, the problem with this number one company of India is that it has no fixed policy or rules on Service Associations or Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) or Trade Unions as well as with regard to the facilities admissible to staff -side members of such units, whereas exhaustive rules for the same are well in practice for decades in other organisations, including the Central /State Government Departments.
For information of ONGC,Recognition of Service Associations Rules of the Central Govt, are reproduced below for formulating its own inbuilt rules within the constitutional frame-work:-
1. CCS (RSA) Rules, 1993 - Central Civil Services (Recognition of Service Associations) Rules, 1993, came into force from 5.11.1993 in supersession of 1959 Rules.
2, Application - Applicable to Service Associations of all Central Government servants covered by CCS(Coduct) Rules, 1965,including civilian employees in Defence Service. Not applicable to industrial employees of he Ministry of Railways and workers of Defence Installation for whom separate rules exist.
3. Conditions for recognitions :-
i) Application to be submitted with Memorandum of Association , Consititution, Bye-laws, Names of Office-beaers etc.
ii) Primary object of the Association to be of promoting common service interest of members of a distinct category.
iii) Association to be organised centrally on All Ministry/Department basis and to represent at least 35% of total number of employees in that particular category. There is a provision to have a second association with at least 15% of total number of employees. Such central association can have branches and the minimum percentage would not apply to branches.
iv) Membership to be restricted to a distinct category of employees and all such employees being eligible for membership.
v) Employees in service to be members or office-bearers . However, as a transit measure, retired/ex-employees permitted to continue up to two years from the date of recognition.
vi) Service Association not to represent interest of any caste, tribe, religion,etc.
vii) Funds, exclusively of subscriptions and Government grants, if any, to be applied only for the objects of the Association.
4. Conditions for continuance of recognition :-
i) The Association to abide by the Constitution/Bye-laws. Any amendment to the same requires Government's prior approval
ii) Representations, only on matters of common interest to members, but not individual cases,to be submitted through proper channel, and not to contain any disrespectful/improper language.
iii) List of members/Office-bearers, up-to-date copy of rules and audited accounts to be furnished to the Government anually before lst July.
iv) Shoul not maintain any political fund or propogation of the views of any political party.
v) Should not publish any periodical/magazine/bulletin without Government permission
vi) Should not act or assist any member to act in contravention of CCS (Conduct)Rules, 1964.
5. Check-off system of verificaton - Subscription to be deducted from payrolls on written consent of the official in favour of a particular association. Subscription to more than one associatton not allowed. Check-off system for verification followed to verify the members of an Association on the basis of deduction of subscriptions. Other guide-lies and schedule for conduct of verificationt on membership of Association to be followed.
6. Withdrawal of Recognition - Can be done after giving opportunity to Association on its failures to comply with any of the conditions.
7.Guidelines on the features of Constitution/Bye-laws of a Service Association :-
i) Accounting year - lst April to 31st March
ii) Elections for office-bearers /members of Executive Committee to be conducted by the Association .(Periodcity to be mentioned) Department not to associate with the Elections, except that an official may act as an obsersver, if so desired by the Association.
iii) Office-bearers to have fixed term not exceeding two years and number of office - bearers /members of Exeecutive Committee to be proportionate to the total membershp
v) Provision to be made in the Constitution that any amendment to be done only after the Government approval.
v) Rate of subscription to be deducted from pay
vi) Number of delegats from branches/units for attending Annual General Meeting to be specified;, number of branches also to be specified. No separate recognition necessary for branches.- Chapter 33.
Note :for recognition of an Association, registraton is not necessary
INSPITE OF ABOVE, IF ONGC GOES WITH THE PLANS TO CONDUCT ELECTIONS OF ASTO AT ITS OWN, NO OFFICER SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN THE SAID ELECTIONS. RATHER, THEY SHOULD IMMEDIATELY RESIGN FROM THE MEMBERSHIP OF ASTO.