The Delhi High Court dismisses the PIL against the Ordnance Factory Board becoming corporations

The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)’s conversion into seven companies was decided upon by the Centre and was in the best interests of the country, according to the Delhi High Court, which rejected a public interest lawsuit contesting the action.

In a decision issued on Friday, a bench presided over by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said that the corporatization of the OFB was done in the national interest to boost defense manufacturing by guaranteeing quality goods and a regular supply of weaponry and ammunition to the armed services.


The court noted that the Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh’s petition did not establish a case for interference and that the government alone had the authority to make policy, which did not infringe on people’ fundamental rights.


“The issue of intervention by this court does not arise since the policy set out by the Government of India is in the national interest while taking into account the needs of defense. Without a shadow of a doubt, the policy choice in this instance violates neither Article 21 nor any other fundamental requirement, said the bench, which also included Justice Sanjeev Narula.


“This court finds no justification for interfering with the policy choice of the Government of India, particularly in light of the fact that the workers’ interests have already been safeguarded. Therefore, there is no basis for interfering in the current situation. As a result, the petition is denied, the court decided.


The OFB was abolished by the defense ministry in 2021 with effect from October 1 and its assets, personnel, and administration were transferred to seven PSUs.


The federal government had said that it will increase autonomy, accountability, and efficiency in ordnance supply by corporatizing the OFB as part of the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) package.


The OFB, a division of the defense ministry, provided the military and paramilitary with essential weapons and ammunition.


The court stated in its 26-page judgment that the transformation of the OFB from a government agency into a public sector firm was suggested by many committees set up by various administrations in the past as a way to increase independence in terms of defense readiness.


Additionally, it was noted that the conversion, which “aimed to enhance functional autonomy, efficiency and unleash new growth potential and innovation in ordnance factories,” was done with the government making sure that the service conditions of the existing OFB employees were protected as central government employees afterward.


“The restructuring also aims to increase product specialization, boost competitiveness, enhance quality, and improve cost effectiveness in the ordnance factories, making them productive and lucrative assets. The court said that it was a policy choice made by the Indian government in the interest of the country.