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Judgments (Labour & Industrial Law)

Paradeep Phosphate Limited vs Paradeep Phosphate Mazdoor Union and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 26 Aug 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Abolition of Contract Labour - Legality - DB by its impugned judgment allowed petition filed by respondents and directed appellant to enforce notification dtd. 28-4-2000 issued by State Government for abolition of Contract Labour in respect of workers engaged in DAP Plant-cleaning of Granulation, dry section, cleaning in combustion chamber, etc - DB further directed appellant to regularize workers engaged in DAP plant - Hence instant appeal -

Held, since the decisions in the writ petitions have reached finality, such question cannot be re-agitated in another writ petition between same parties as the question will be hit by the principles of res judicata. Now once the Notification dtd. 28-4-2000 for abolition of contract labour in respect of the workers in DAP Plant, Cleaning of granulation dry section, cleaning in combustion chamber, etc. was issued, it was incumbent on the part of the Company to implement the same. Since it was not implemented, HC rightly directed to implement the same. It is not inclined to answer the question about the appropriate government in instant case, keep the same open for determination in an appropriate case. There was no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment and order by which HC directed the appellant to implement the notification abolishing the contract labour and to regularize the service of the workmen. Appeal dismissed.

Balwant Rai Saluja and another vs Air India Limited and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 25 Aug 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Factories Act, 1948, ss. 2, 2(l), 46 - Delhi Factory Rules, 1950 - Termination - Legality - Dispute arose between Appellants/workmen of statutory canteen and respondent no. 1/Air India Ltd., - Industrial dispute was referred to Tribunal - Tribunal passed award in favor of appellants and held that termination of services of workmen during pendency of dispute was illegal - Respondents filed appeal before Single Judge - Single Judge set aside and quashed the award - On appeal before DB - DB dismissed the appeal confirming order passed by Single Judge - Hence instant appeals - Whether workers, engaged on casual or temporary basis by respondent no. 2/contractor/Hotel Corporations of India Ltd. (HCI) to operate and run a statutory canteen, under provisions of the Act, on premises of a factory/Air India, could be said to be workmen of said factory or corporation -

Held, respondent being entity bearing financial burden, would give suggestions on running of canteen - Issues raised by its own employees who would avail said canteen services, respondent would put forth recommendations or requests to ensure redressal of said complaints or grievances - Regard to discussions over uniforms, prices, subsidies, etc., it might be noted that same were obligations under the Rules as applicable to respondent - Respondent exercises control was in nature of supervision - Said supervision or control would appear to be merely to ensure due maintenance of standards and quality in said canteen - Appellants/workmen could not said to be under effective and absolute control of Air India - Air India merely has control of supervision over working of given statutory canteen - Issues regarding appointment of said workmen, their dismissal, payment of their salaries, etc. were within control of respondent no. 2 - It could not be then said that appellants were workmen of Air India and therefore were entitled to regularization of their services - There was no parity in nature of work, mode of appointment, experience, qualifications, etc., between regular employees of Air India and workers of given canteen - Appellants/workmen could not be placed at same footing as Air India's regular employees, and thereby claim same benefits as bestowed upon latter - Appellants made no claim or prayer against either of other respondents - Workers engaged by contractor to work in statutory canteen of factory would be workers of said factory, but only for purposes of the Act, and for said workers, to be called employees of factory for all purposes, they would need to satisfy test of employer-employee relationship and it must be shown that employer exercises absolute and effective control over said workers - Appeals dismissed.

India Yamaha Motor Private Limited vs Dharam Singh and another  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 20 Aug 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, ss. 5C, 6I, 6I(1), 6I(2), 6I(3) - Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Rules, 1957, rr. 40, 40(1)(i)(a), 40(1)(i)(b), 40(1)(i)(c) - Equal salary - Other benefits - Legality - Instant appeals were filed by appellant management to assail the competence of respondents workmen to be represented before Tribunal, through five of the respondents/workmen out of 113 workmen who were agitating industrial dispute before Tribunal -

Held, respondents were inducted into employment of appellant before 1989. Conciliation proceedings were initiated on their behalf by employees Union in 1989. The respondents were seeking regularization from date of their employment, and wages and other allied benefits connected to the wages being paid to permanent employees. Process of conciliation continued for about a decade, whereupon, State Govt. made reference of industrial dispute raised by respondents. The appellant was also dissatisfied with determination of State in transferring the adjudication of dispute from Labour Court, to Tribunal, Meerut vide its order. Challenge to the same was raised before HC repeatedly. Eventually, by an order appellant by consent accepted adjudication of dispute by Tribunal, Meerut. This was where matter was ordered to be determined by State, at asking of workmen. What is important is that large number of years came to be wasted in something which was eventually acceded to voluntarily by appellant. It is not understandable why appellant was dissatisfied with representation of 5 of the workmen before Tribunal. It is not possible for SC to understand what prejudice could have been caused to appellant if 5 workmen had represented respondents before Tribunal. Sequence of facts noted reveals that claim which commenced in 1989 and was referred for adjudication by State in 1998, has still not been taken up for consideration. While the services of one of the respondents, were terminated in the year 2000, the services of all the remaining workmen were terminated in the year 2005. SC viewed that appellant has abused the judicial process and tired out the workmen, in the legitimate pursuit of their alleged rights. This is not the purpose for which these adjudicatory processes have been awarded for. It is for expeditious relief to workmen employed in industries, that these beneficial legislations have been enacted. Compensation should be awarded to respondents for having remained involved in this assiduously long process of litigation. Appeals dismissed.

State of Madhya Pradesh and others vs Anees Khan  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 07 Aug 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - M.P. Industrial Relations Act, 1960, s. 108 - Reinstatement - Back wages - Grant of - Instant appeal, arose out of the proceedings on an application filed by respondent/workman u/s. 108 of the Act for grant of back wages amounting to Rs. 1,41,762/- for the period from 8-2-1994 to 31-3-2001 - Hence instant appeal - Whether respondent could be granted back wages as he claimed -

Held, workman abandoned his right to seek reinstatement and his conduct in not reporting for duty disentitles him even to back wages - Workman worked for less than one year without any regular appointment - Though the order of the Labour Court became final and in proceedings to enforce the said order, the workman was paid back wages from 1-7-1992 to 7-2-1994, since he did not report for duty nor took any proceedings for seeking enforcement of order of reinstatement, he could not be allowed any further relief - Appeal disposed of.

Manju Sarkar and others vs Mabish Miah and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 30 Jun 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 - Employment - Accidental death - Compensation - Entitlement of - Deceased was driving the truck vehicle under the employment of respondents No. 1 and 2, he met with a road accident and sustained injuries which led to his death - Death has occurred in the course of employment, they were entitled to compensation from respondents - Appellants filed a suit under the Act before the Commissioner contending respondents were liable to pay compensation of Rs. 7 lakhs along with interest - Commissioner dismissed the suit - Appellants challenged the same by filing appeal HC dismissed the appeal - Hence instant appeal - Whether deceased continued to be in course of employment under respondent Nos. 1 and 2 at the time of sustaining injuries in the accident culminating in his death -

Held, deceased was on account of his employment as driver of the truck and there he met with the road accident - As rightly contended by appellants there was a notional extension in instant case also and therefore, SC hold that deceased met with the road accident in the course of his employment under respondent Nos. 1 and 2 - Courts below have misdirected themselves while dealing with this question and the finding rendered by them was perverse and unsustainable - Contention raised by respondent No. 3Insurance Co. that they were not liable to pay the interest component - There was nothing on record to show that respondent No. 3 either pleaded about existence of such a clause in the contract of insurance or led any evidence to the said effect and hence the said decision would not help respondent No. 3 in any way and the contention raised was devoid of merit - Impugned judgment and order of the Courts below were set aside - Appeal allowed.

Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation and another vs Zahid Hussain  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 30 Jun 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Termination - Reinstatement - Full back wages - Legality - Respondent was employed as driver in appellants-Corporation since 1980 and disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him on the charges that he absented from duty from 1-7-1993 to 22-8-1993 - Enquiry Officer, in his report, found the first two charges proved and the third charge partly proved and consequently, the services of respondent was terminated - Appeal preferred by him came to be dismissed - Reference made to Labour Court where it was held that charges were not proved and termination was illegal directed reinstatement with continuity of service and full back wages - Corporation challenged the award by filing Writ Petition and HC upheld the award and dismissed the Writ Petition - Hence instant petition - Appellants contended that respondent was not entitled for full back wages since he was not worked during the relevant period -

Held, respondent was a driver by profession and he had put in long service in appellants-Corporation - Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, grant of 25% of back wages, in SC's view, would meet the ends of justice and it was decided accordingly - Respondent should be entitled to 25% of back wages alone and the award was modified accordingly - Appeal disposed of.

Bhuvnesh Kumar Dwivedi vs Hindalco Industries Limited  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 25 Apr 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, s.25B - Termination - Legality - It was the case of the appellant-workman that he was appointed as Labour Supervisor in the employer's/respondent factory on 30-12-1992 and he worked continuously in terms of s.25B of Act in the said post till 28-7-1998- the day on which his services were terminated - It was the case of the appellant that he had worked for six calendar years from the date of his appointment till the termination of his service and he had rendered more than 240 days of continuous service in every calendar year before his termination - Respondent terminated the services of appellant on 27-7-1998 as per practice with the reason 'sanction expired' - Appellant had raised an industrial dispute with a request to the state government to make reference for adjudication of existing industrial dispute regarding the termination of service of the appellant from his service by the respondent - Labour Court, after conducting enquiry had adjudicated the industrial dispute between the parties by answering the points of dispute and passed an award in favour of the appellant holding that the termination of his service was not justified since the respondent had not produced any material evidence on record to justify the order of termination - Further, the Labour Court had held that the appellant was entitled to reinstatement with back wages and other consequential benefits as if his services were never terminated - On appeal by respondent before HC, it opined that it was not a case of reinstatement with full back wages - Hence instant appeal - (A) Whether the exercise of power by the HC u/arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution and setting aside the award of reinstatement, back wages and other consequential reliefs and awarding Rs. 1,00,000/- towards damages was legal and valid -

Held, careful reading of the judgment revealed that the HC could interfere with an Order of the Tribunal only on the procedural level and in cases, where the decision of the lower courts has been arrived at in gross violation of the legal principles - State of Mysore v. Workers of Gold Mines 1958 Indlaw SC 8, relied on - HC should interfere with factual aspect placed before the Labour Courts only when it was convinced that the Labour Court had committed patent mistakes in admitting evidence illegally or have made grave errors in law in coming to the conclusion on facts - HC granting contrary relief u/arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution amounted to exceeding its jurisdiction conferred upon it - Therefore, SC accordingly answer the point No. 1 in favour of the appellant - Appeals allowed.

(B) Labour & Industrial Law - Uttar Pradesh Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, s.6N - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, s. 2 (oo) (bb) - Termination - Legality - Whether the concurrent finding recorded by the Labour Court and HC on the question of termination of services of appellant holding that the case of retrenchment falls u/s.6-N of UPID Act was void ab initio and not accepting the legal plea that the case falls u/s. 2 (oo) (bb) of the Act was correct, legal and valid -

Held, respondent, in order to mitigate its conduct towards the appellant had claimed that the appellant was appointed solely on contract basis, and his service was terminated in the manner permissible u/s. 2 (oo) (bb) of Act - However, SC could not accept the contention of the respondent for the following reasons - (i) Firstly, the respondent did not produce any material evidence on record before the Labour Court to prove that it meets all the required criteria under 1970 Act, to be eligible to employ employees on contractual basis which includes license number etc.- (ii) Secondly, the respondent could not produce any material evidence on record before the Labour Court to show that the appellant was employed for any particular project(s) on the completion of which his service was terminated through non-renewal of his contract of employment - Therefore, SC deemed it fit to construe that the appellant has rendered continuous service for six continuous years (save the artificially imposed break) as provided u/s.25B of Act and could therefore be subjected to retrenchment only through the procedure mentioned in the Act or the UPID Act in pari material - Therefore, SC answered the point No. 2 in favour of the appellant holding that the Labour Court was correct in holding that the action of the respondent was a clear case of retrenchment of the appellant, which action required to comply with the mandatory requirement of the provision of s.6-N of UPID Act - Undisputedly, the same was not complied with and therefore, the order of retrenchment had rendered void ab initio in law - Appeals allowed.

(C) Labour & Industrial Law - Termination - Legality - Whether the workman was entitled for reinstatement with full back wages and other consequential reliefs -

Held, on the basis of the legal principle laid down by SC in one case, the submission of the respondent that the appellant did not aver in his plaint of not being employed, did not hold since the burden of proof that the appellant was gainfully employed post termination of his service was on the respondent - Deepali Gundu Surwase v Kranti Junior Adhyapak Mahavidyalaya (D.Ed.) and others 2013 Indlaw SC 579, relied on - Claim of the respondent that the appellant was gainfully employed somewhere was vague and could not be considered and accepted - Therefore, SC held that the appellant was entitled to full back wages from the date of termination of his service till the date of his reinstatement - Appeals allowed.

(D) Labour & Industrial Law - Termination - Legality - What Award -

Held, case was a clear case of violation of the Constitutional principles expressly mentioned in the text - Before SC made concluding findings and reasons, SC wished to revisit one case - Harjinder Singh v Punjab State Warehousing Corporation 2010 Indlaw SC 234, relied on - Hence, Labour Court was correct on legal and factual principles in reinstating the appellant along with full back wages after setting aside the order of termination - Appeals allowed.

Iswarlal Mohanlal Thakkar vs Paschim Gujarat VIJ Company Limited and another  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 16 Apr 2014]
(A) Labour & Industrial Law - Indian Evidence Act, 1872, s. 35 - Change of birth date - Incorrect data - Termination - Legality - Appellant was employee of respondent - Appellant filed application to change his birth date from 27-6-1937 to 27-6-1940 but same was rejected orally - Respondent addressed letter to appellant directing him to produce school leaving certificate or Municipal Birth certificate as proof - Electricity Board vide its circular informed all employees that for purpose of deciding DOB and making corrections for same, only School Leaving Certificate of SSC or HSC might be taken into account - Appellant's DOB was not correct so he filed civil suit before Trial Court for declaration regarding his DOB and the same was dismissed - Appellant filed appeal before Appellate Court and the same was rejected - Respondent terminated services of appellant - Appellant raised industrial dispute before Conciliation Officer which was referred by State Govt. for adjudication to Labour Court - Labour Court passed an Award holding that termination of services of appellant prematurely on basis of his incorrect date of birth was wrong - Respondent filed application before HC and the same was allowed and award passed by Labour Court was set - Hence instant appeal - Whether the document issued by the competent authority would prevail over school leaving certificate with regard to date of birth -

Held, HC committed a grave error by setting aside findings recorded on points of dispute in Award of Labour Court - A grave miscarriage of justice was committed against appellant as respondent should have accepted birth certificate as conclusive proof of age, same being an entry in public record as per s. 35 of the Act and birth certificate mentioned appellant's date of birth, which was documentary evidence - Therefore, there was no reason to deny benefit of same, instead respondent prematurely terminated services of appellant by taking his date of birth as 27-6-1937 which was contrary to facts and evidence on record - DOB was highly improbable as well as impossible as appellant's elder brother was born on 27-1-1937 as per School Leaving Certificate, and there could not be a mere 5 months difference between birth of his elder brother and himself - Therefore, it was apparent that School Leaving Certificate could not be relied upon by respondent and instead, birth certificate issued by BMC which was documentary evidence should have been relied upon by respondent - Appeal allowed.

(B) Labour & Industrial Law - Indian Evidence Act, 1872, s. 35 - Termination - Award - Legality - Whether HC was correct in passing an order setting aside judgment and Award of Labour Court -

Held, judgment and award of Labour Court well-reasoned and based on facts and evidence on record - HC erred in its exercise of power to annul findings of Labour Court in its Award as it was well settled law that HC could not exercise its power as an Appellate Court or re-appreciate evidence and record its findings on contentious points - Only if there was serious error of law or findings recorded suffer from error apparent on record, could HC quash order of Lower Court - Labour Court in present case had satisfactorily exercised its original jurisdiction and properly appreciated facts and legal evidence on record and given a well-reasoned order and answered points of dispute in favor of appellant - HC had no reason to interfere with same as Award of Labour Court was based on sound and cogent reasoning, which had served ends of justice - HC had not applied its mind in setting aside judgment and award of Labour Court in exercise of its power of judicial review and superintendence as it was patently clear that Labour Court had not committed any error of jurisdiction or passed judgment without sufficient evidence - Impugned order of HC was set aside and award passed Labour Court was restored, Services of appellant were prematurely superannuated taking his date of birth therefore, he was entitled to full back wages and other consequential monetary benefits from date of termination till date of his correct superannuation considering his DOB - Back wages should be calculated on basis of revised pay scale and same must be paid by way of demand draft to appellant within time framed - Appeal allowed.

Rajasthan State TPT Corporation and another vs Bajrang Lal  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 14 Mar 2014]
(1) Code of Civil Procedure, 1908-Section 100-Second appeal-In exceptional circumstances, second appeal can be entertained on pure questions of fact-There is no prohibition for High Court to entertain second appeal even on question of fact where factual findings are found to be perverse.

(2) Employment - Dismissal/ Removal - Respondent-employee embezzled money of State Transport Corporation-Whether punishment of dismissal disproportionate to proved delinquency?-Held, "no"-Contention of respondent-employee, that punishment of dismissal from service is disproportionate to delinquency is not worth acceptance-Only punishment in case of proved case of corruption is dismissal from service-Judgments of court below set aside-Order of removal from service passed by disciplinary authority-Restored.

Hari Nandan Prasad and another vs Employer I/R to Management of FCI and another  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 17 Feb 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Termination - Reinstatement - Challenged - Appellants were working on casual basis with respondent FCI after certain time their services were terminated - Appellants raised industrial dispute and alleged wrongful termination before Central Government- cum- Industrial Tribunal(CGIT) - CGIT held that termination of both appellants was held to be illegal and they were directed to be reinstated with 50% back wages - CGIT ordered with regularization of service - Respondent filed petition and challenged the awards passed by CGIT - Petitions were dismissed by Single Judge - Appeals before DB - DB allowed respondents appeals - Hence instant petitions - Whether the order passed by DB was sustainable -

Held, grievance of appellants was that under the Scheme contained in Circular dt. 6-5-1997 many similarly placed workmen were regularized and, therefore, they were entitled to this benefit - It was argued that those who had rendered 240 days service were regularized as per provision in that Scheme/Circular - On consideration of cases appellant No.1 was not in service on the date when Scheme was promulgated as his services were dispensed with 4 years before that Circular saw the light of the day - Therefore, relief of monetary compensation in lieu of reinstatement would be more appropriate in his case and conclusion in impugned judgment qua him was unassailable, though for difficult reasons than those advanced by HC - However, in case of appellant No.2 was concerned, he was engaged on 5-9-1986 and continued till 15-9-1990 when his services were terminated - Appellant no.2 raised industrial dispute immediately thereafter, thus, when Circular was issued, he was in service and within few months of the issuing of that Circular he had completed 240 days of service - Non-regularization of appellant no.2, while giving benefit of Circular to other similar situated employees and regularizing them would, therefore, be clearly discriminatory - On these facts, CGIT rightly held that he was entitled to the benefit of scheme contained in Circular - DB in impugned judgment failed to notice this pertinent and material fact which turned scales in favour of appellant No.2 - HC committed error in reversing direction given by CGIT, which was rightly affirmed by Single Judge as well, to reinstate appellant No.2 with 50% back wages and to regularize him in service - Appellant no.2 was entitled to get his case considered in terms of that Circular, had it been done, probably he would have been regularized - Instead, his services were wrongly and illegally terminated in the year 1990 - Hence, appeal of appellant no.1 was dismissed and appellant no. 2 was allowed - Appeals partly allowed

ABP Private Limited and another vs Union of India and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 07 Feb 2014]
Constitution - Labour & Industrial Law - Media & Entertainment - Constitution of India, 1950, arts. 32, 14, 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(g) - Working Journalists And Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions Of Service) And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, ss. 9, 11(1), 13C - Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Act, 1974 - Infringement of Fundamental rights - Improper constitution of Wage Boards - Constitutionality - GOI enacted the Act to regulate the conditions of service of working Journalists and in 1974 via amendment for other Newspaper employees employed in newspaper establishments - For the purpose of fixing or revising the rates of wages of employees in newspaper establishments, Central Govt. was empowered u/ss. 9 and 13C of the Act to constitute 2 Wage Boards, one for working journalists and other for non-journalist newspaper employees respectively - Instant petitions, u/art. 32 of Constitution were filed by petitioners (management of various newspapers) praying for a declaration that the Act was ultra vires as it infringed the fundamental rights guaranteed u/arts. 14, 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and sought quashing of notification dt.11-11-2011 issued by Central Govt. accepting the recommendations made by Wage Boards for Working Journalists and Non-Journalist Newspaper and News Agency Employees - Whether Wage Board has considered the capacity to pay of the News Agencies -

Held, merely because 'S', former Secretary of Labour Ministry, was a part of Govt. that took the decision to set up Wage Boards, did not automatically follow that he ceased to be an independent' member of the Wage Boards - 'S' was an independent member of the Board and could not be considered to be 'biased' in any manner - Wage Boards functioned in a fully balanced manner - Thereafter, petitioners participated in proceedings and acquiesced themselves with the proceedings of Board - Petitioners participated in proceedings without seriously having challenged the constitution and the composition, petitioners could not be allowed to challenge the same at instant stage - Attack of petitioners was incorrect in the light of factual matrix and could not be raised at that point of time when they willfully conceded to the proceedings - Members representing working journalists were nominated to Wage Board for the working journalists - Members representing non-journalist newspaper employees were nominated to the Wage Boards for non-journalist newspaper employees - For administrative convenience, 4 independent members, including Chairman were common for both the Wage Boards - That arrangement in no way affects the interest of employers and challenge of the petitioners in that regard was unfounded -Chap. 3 of Wage Board recommendations clearly indicated that procedure adopted by Wage Boards did, in fact, gave ample opportunities to the stakeholders to give representations and financial data, etc. so that the same might be considered by Wage Boards for making their recommendations - However, many of the petitioners have never bothered to attend the proceedings of Wage Board and submitted financial data - Wage Boards conducted a series of meetings and gave ample opportunities to employers - Employers were given opportunity of both written and oral representations to make their point of view known to the Board and consequently the decision making process stands valid - In that respect, petitioners could not be allowed to take advantage of their own wrong and impugn the recommendations of Wage Boards as not being based on their data when they eluded to submit the said data in the first place - Wage Boards proceedings had been conducted and carried out in a legitimate approach and no decision of Wage Board is perceived to having been taken unilaterally or arbitrarily - Rather all decisions were reached in a coherent manner in the presence of all the Wage Board members after having processed various statistics and there was no irregularity in the procedure adopted by impugned Wage Boards - Comprehensive and detailed study was carried out by Wage Board by collecting all the relevant material information for the purpose of Wage Revision - It could not be held that the wage structure recommended by Wage Board was unreasonable - Concept of 'variable pay' contained in recommendations of 6 Central Pay Commission was incorporated into the Wage Board recommendations only to ensure that the wages of newspaper employees were at par with those employees working in other Govt. sectors - Such incorporation was made by the Wage Board after careful consideration, in order to ensure equitable treatment to employees of newspaper establishments, and it was well within its rights to do so - Mere fact that in instant case, Govt. had not accepted a few recommendations would not automatically affect the validity of entire report - Recommendations of Wage Boards were valid in law, based on genuine and acceptable considerations and there was no valid ground for interference u/art. 32 of Constitution - Wages as revised/determined should be payable from 11-11-2011 when GOI notified the recommendations of Wage Boards - Petitions dismissed.

Tapash Kumar Paul vs BSNL and another  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 28 Jan 2014]
Labour & Industrial Law - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 - Consequential benefits - Sustainability - Appellant filed instant appeal as HC restored award of Labour Court with consequential benefits of awarding back wages - Whether the order recorded by HC was sustainable -

Held, SC took cognizance of appellant's plea that company suffered loss and, therefore, workmen should make some sacrifice and modified award of full back wages by directing that workmen should be entitled to 75% of back wages - SC opined that appellant was entitled to reinstatement with full back wages since in absence of full back wages, employee would be distressed and would suffer punishment for no fault of his own - DB gravely erred in law that Tribunal and Single Judge found that order of termination was bad in law for non-compliance with statutory provisions of the ID Act and therefore, following normal Rule of Award of reinstatement was awarded but erroneously denied full back wages in absence of proof of gainful employment of appellant - Thus, impugned judgment and order of DB was set aside and award of Tribunal and order of Single Judge was restored - Deepali Gundu Surwase v Kranti Junior Adhyapak Mahavidyalaya (D.Ed.) and others 2013 Indlaw SC 579; Surendra Kumar Verma and Others v Central Government Industrial Tribunal, New Delhi 1980 Indlaw SC 72; Hindustan Tin Works Pvt. Ltd v Empkoyees Of Hindustan Tin Works Pvt. Ltd 1978 Indlaw SC 70, relied on - Appeal allowed.

J. H. Patel (D) by Lrs and others vs Nuboard Manufacturing Company Limited and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 22 Jan 2014]
Employment-Termination-Workmen-No discussion whatsoever about evidence as to why labour court came to conclusion that misconduct is established-In the circumstances, findings of labour court cannot be sustained that management proved misconduct-Inasmuch as misconduct not proved, workmen were entitled to get relief that they were seeking, namely declaration that termination of their services was bad in law and then consequential relief-Impugned order of High Court and labour court set aside-Dispute raised by workmen decided in their favour, namely that termination of their services was unjustified on merits.
Stanzen Toyotetsu India Private Limited vs Girish V. and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 21 Jan 2014]
Employment-Disciplinary proceedings-Stay of-Question for determination-Whether courts below justified in staying ongoing disciplinary proceedings pending conclusion of trial in criminal case registered and filed against respondents in respect of very same incident-Disciplinary proceedings and proceedings in criminal case can proceed simultaneously in absence of any legal bar to such simultaneity-Stay of disciplinary proceedings may be advisable course in cases where criminal charge against employee is grave and continuance of disciplinary proceedings is likely to prejudice their defence before criminal court-Gravity of charge is, however, not by itself enough to determine question unless charge involves complicated question of law and fact-Not disputed that there is no legal bar to conduct of disciplinary proceedings and criminal trial simultaneously-Disciplinary proceedings cannot remain stayed for indefinitely long period-Such inordinate delay neither in interest of appellant company nor respondents who are under suspension and surviving on subsistence allowance-Keeping in view the fact that all courts below exercised their discretion in favour of staying on-going disciplinary proceedings, not fit to vacate impugned orders straightway-Interest of justice would be sufficiently served if concerned court directed to conclude criminal proceedings against respondents expeditiously within period of one year from date of order-In case, however, trial not completed within period of one year from date of order, impugned order in that case stand vacated.
State of Uttar Pradesh Through Exe. Engineer and another vs Amar Nath Yadav  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 10 Jan 2014]
Practice & Procedure - Delay of 481 days - Time barred - Maintainability - There was a delay of 481 days in filing Special Leave Petition - Hence instant application for condonation - Petitioner contended that the delay to the moving of file from one Department/ Officer to the other - Whether delay of 481 days could be condoned - Held, in Postmaster General and Ors. v. Living Media India Ltd., 2012 Indlaw SC 55, relied on - There was no reason to take a different view - SC thus, dismissed instant SLP on the ground of delay - Petition dismissed.
Kichha Sugar Company Limited Through General Manager vs Tarai Chini Mill Majdoor Union, Uttarkhand  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 06 Jan 2014]
Employment-Hill development allowance-Held-Amount received as leave encashment and overtime wages is not fit to be taken into account for calculating hill development allowance-Impugned award and judgment of High Court affirming award of Industrial Tribunal directing payment of hill development allowance after taking into account amount received as leave encashment and overtime wages-Illegal and set aside.
T. S. Shylaja vs Oriental Insurance Company and another  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 03 Jan 2014]
Employees' Compensation Act, 1923-Section 30-Appeal-Maintainability-Substantial question of law-High Court neither referred to nor determined any question of law much less substantial question of law-Existence whereof condition precedent for maintainability of any appeal under Section 30-High Court remained oblivious of basic requirement of law for maintainability of appeal before it-It treated appeal to be one on facts-High Court committed error-Impugned order of High Court-Set aside-Order of Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation-Restored.
Management of Sundaram Industries Limited vs Sundaram Industries Employees Union  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 13 Dec 2013]
Labour & Industrial Law - Defaulting workmen - Termination - Reinstatement - Sustainability - Appellant-company manufacturer of rubber products - Appellant required workmen engaged as moulders to place their individual bags of production on weighing scale at end of their work shift - Few workers declined to abide by instructions - Defaulters were suspended - Respondent-union raised dispute before Labour Officer - Labour officer advised respondent and its workmen to tender apology to management and undertaking to effect that they would not repeat their acts in future - Despite apology defaulting workmen not only continued disobeyed instructions but succeeded in enticing others to follow them - Disciplinary proceedings was initiated - Workmen were dismissed - Respondent approached Tribunal - Tribunal set aside order of dismissal passed against workmen and directed their reinstatement with 50% back wages - Appellant filed petition before HC - Petition was dismissed by HC - Appeal filed before DB which was dismissed - Hence instant appeal - Whether the order recorded by HC was sustainable - Held, award was in favour of workmen which they had no reason to challenge - But that did not mean that in any proceedings against award respondent workmen could not support direction for their reinstatement on ground that finding of Tribunal regarding proof of misconduct was not justified - Legal position was fairly well settled that judgment should be supported by party in whose favour it was delivered not only on grounds found in his favour but also on grounds that might have been held against him by Courts - Finding regarding commission of misconduct was left undisturbed, circumstances in which workmen were alleged to have disobeyed instructions issued to them did not justify extreme penalty of their dismissal - At any rate, Labour Court having exercised its discretion in setting aside dismissal order on ground that same was disproportionate, HC was justified in refusing to interfere with that order - There was in any event no compelling reason for SC to invoke extraordinary power or to interfere with what was done by Courts below - Appeal dismissed.
B.S.N.L. vs Bhurumal  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 11 Dec 2013]
Labour & Industrial Law - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, s.25F - Termination of service - Reinstatement - Legality - Respondent raised an industrial dispute alleging his wrongful termination, by approaching the Assistant Labour Commissioner - Respondent claimed that he was working as a Lineman on daily wages with Telephone Dept., and was not paid his wages for the period from October 2001 till April 2002 - Respondent further stated that while working he got an electrical shock and because of this accident he was hospitalized - However, respondent was not allowed to resume his duty which amounted to wrongful termination - Conciliation proceedings were not successful, the Conciliation Officer sent his failure report to the Central Govt. and on that basis Central Govt. made a reference to Tribunal - Tribunal came to the conclusion that there was clear evidence to the effect that the respondent was directly working under the administrative control of the appellant as a Lineman and his services were illegally terminated - Thus, answering the reference in favour of the respondent, Tribunal directed reinstatement of the respondent along with back wages - HC concurred with the view of Tribunal - Whether the relief of reinstatement with full back wages was rightly granted by Tribunal - Held, it was clear from the reading of the judgments of SC that the ordinary principle of grant of reinstatement with full back wages, when the termination was found to be illegal was not applied mechanically in all cases - While that might be a position where services of a regular/permanent workman were terminated illegally and/or malafide and/or by way of victimization, unfair labour practice etc - However, when it came to the case of termination of a daily wage worker and where the termination was found illegal because of procedural defect, namely in violation of s.25-F of Act, SC was consistent in taking the view in such cases reinstatement with back wages was not automatic and instead the workman should be given monetary compensation which will meet the ends of justice - Reasons for denying the relief of reinstatement in such cases were obvious - It was trite law that when the termination was found to be illegal because of non-payment of retrenchment compensation and notice pay as mandatorily required under s.25-F of Act, even after reinstatement, it was always open to the management to terminate the services of that employee by paying him the retrenchment compensation - Since such a workman/respondent was working on daily wage basis and even after he was reinstated, he had no right to seek regularization - Thus when respondent could not claim regularization and he had no right to continue even as a daily wage worker, no useful purpose was going to be served in reinstating such a workman and he could be given monetary compensation by the Court itself inasmuch as if he was terminated again after reinstatement, he would receive monetary compensation only in the form of retrenchment compensation and notice pay - In such a situation, giving the relief of reinstatement, that too after a long gap, would not serve any purpose - Thus, ends of justice would be met by granting compensation in lieu of reinstatement - A.Umarani v. Registrar, Coop.Societies, 2004 Indlaw SC 606 and Secy.,State of Karnataka v. Umadevi, 2006 Indlaw SC 125, relied on - Appeal disposed of.
E.S.I.C. Medical Officer's Association vs E.S.I.C. and another  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 21 Nov 2013]
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947-Section 2 (s)-Workman-Whether medical doctors discharging functions of Medical Officers, i.e. treating patients in Employees' State Insurance Corporations' dispensaries/hospitals are "workmen" within meaning of Section 2 (s)?-Held, "no"-Medical Officers appointed in various dispensaries/hospitals are entrusted with task of examining and diagnosing patients and prescribing medicines to them-Medical Officers are basically and mainly engaged in professional and intellectual activities to treat patients-Medical professional treating patients and diagnosing diseases-Cannot be held to be "workmen" within meaning of Section 2 (s).
Balwant Rai Saluja and another Etc. vs Air India Limited and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 13 Nov 2013]
V. Gopala Gowda, J.

Labour & Industrial Law - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, ss. 2(ra), 25U, 25T, 33(2) - Delhi Factory Rules, 1950, rr. 60 to 70 - Factories Act, 1948, s. 2(n) - - Absorption in service - Deemed employment - Legality - Respondent (Air India) had entered into a contract with a Corporation (HCI) to provide canteen services at its establishment - Appellants (workmen) are contract labour employees, employed by HCI on behalf of Respondent - Appellants (workmen) raised industrial dispute in relation to the absorption of their services by the Management of respondent before Tribunal - However, respondent allegedly terminated services of appellants, during pendency of industrial disputed in contravention of s. 33(2) of the Act - Tribunal passed a common award and recorded that workmen were entitled to be treated as being employees of respondent and consequently held that they were entitled to relief sought for by them - Aggrieved respondent filed an appeal before HC - Single Judge had set aside the common Award - Aggrieved appellants filed an appeal before DB - DB by impugned judgment concurred with the findings of facts and reasons recorded by Single Judge - Hence, instant appeals - Appellant contended that action of Management of respondent in employing the concerned workmen on contract basis was an unfair labour practice as defined u/s. 2(ra) of 1947 Act and that respondent has a large role to play in operation and management of Canteen - Whether canteen which was run through HCI from its Chefair unit by Management of respondent, was the statutory canteen of it u/rr. 65 to 70 of the Rules - Held, respondent suppressed relevant material fact regarding number of employees/workmen working in its establishment - Tribunal recorded the finding of fact holding that a total figure of 2000 employees/workmen were working in respondent's establishment and they were availing the canteen facilities, which was run through a HCI from its Chefair unit in the premise of respondent - The wholly owned subsidiary Corporation (HCI) has adopted unfair labour practice as defined u/s. 2(ra) of 1947 Act at sl no. 10 entry in sch. V, under the heading of Unfair Labour Practices practiced by the employer, by keeping workers in employment in the canteen for 40 days at a time and thereafter employing them on contract basis after a break though the nature of work to be performed by them in the canteen have been perennial in nature, for the reason that they were required to provide and maintain the statutory canteen in the factory premises to cater the food stuff to its employees/ workmen - Thus, respondents have committed a statutory offence punishable u/s. 25U of 1947 Act for employing concerned workmen on contract basis with a break in their service which constitutes unfair labour practice and was prohibited u/s. 25T of 1947 Act either by the employer or workmen under sch. V of 1947 Act - In instant case, respondent fall under the category of factory where occupier was defined u/s. 2(n) of 1948 Act and thus, it was duty bound to provide a canteen to its employees/ workmen which was known as the statutory canteen - It was statutory obligation on part of respondent to provide a statutory canteen under the provisions of 1948 Act and Rules and thus, it was one more strong circumstance in favour of workmen for regularization in their services as permanent workmen by respondent - Concerned workmen have completed 240 days despite attempt of contractor by giving break in service of concerned workmen by the statutory corporation which was an instrumentality of State which was not permissible in law - Contract with HCI which was a subsidiary company of respondent and employing the contract workers to work in statutory canteen, was a sham contract - They were engaged in permanent nature of work continuously for number of years - Finding of fact recorded Tribunal on the points of dispute holding that they were entitled for regularization and to be absorbed as employees of respondent, without prejudice to any managerial arrangement to avail the expertise of HCI through existing arrangements - Indeed that would be a win-win situation for all stake holders concerned in instant the corporates, respondent's employees numbering more than 2000 in instant case and disempowered canteen workers and that would also be in harmony with our Constitutional jurisprudence - Findings and reasons recorded by Tribunal on the points of dispute in relation to concerned employees declaring that concerned contract workers of canteen were deemed employees of respondent was a right decision which was reached after appreciation of evidence on record and adhering to legal principles laid down by SC in catena of cases - Single Judge and DB exceeded in their jurisdiction to interfere with the finding of fact recorded by Tribunal on the points of dispute which were referred to by Central Govt. - Workmen whose services were terminated during the pendency of petition before Tribunal, should be treated as permanent workmen at par with concerned workmen involved in instant case - Award for their reinstatement to their posts should be passed with all consequential benefits with full back wages - Impugned judgments passed by DB and Single Judge was set aside - Award passed by Tribunal was restored - Order accordingly.

C. K. Prasad, J. (Dissenting)

Labour & Industrial Law - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, ss. 2(ra), 25U, 25T, 33(2) - Delhi Factory Rules, 1950, rr. 60 to 70 - Factories Act, 1948, s. 2(n) - Absorption in service - Deemed employment - Legality - Whether canteen which was run through HCI from its Chefair unit by Management of respondent, was the statutory canteen of it u/rr. 65 to 70 of the Rules - Held, respondent or its nominee were the shareholders of HCI and in the management of business and finances, it was subject to the directions issued by respondent in terms of Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association should not merge the HCI's identity in shareholders - HCI was a separate legal entity, not subservient to respondent but a servant to its Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association - Obligation to provide Canteen was by itself not decisive to determine the status of workmen employed in Canteen - Respondent did not fulfill the test laid down so as to treat it as principal employer - It was not the case of workmen that it was respondent which pays their emoluments instead of HCI - Respondent had neither any role in selection and appointment of workmen nor it controls and supervises their work - It was further not their case that respondent was their disciplinary authority over their conduct and discipline - Respondent, by giving subsidy at a specified rate or for that matter purchasing few articles for Canteen on its behalf and further bringing to the notice of HCI the complaint in regard to functioning of the Canteen, would not make it principal employer - HC rightly observed that HCI was a Govt. company like respondent and the workmen in no way would be prejudiced if they continue to be the employees of HCI - There did not seem to be any mala fide or oblique motive in respondent entering into a contract with Chefair, a unit of HCI for operating its Canteen - Order accordingly.

State of Maharashtra and another vs Sarva Shramik Sangh, Sangli and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 21 Oct 2013]
Labour & Industrial Law - Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, ss. 17B, 25(A), 25(F) and 25(FF) - Retrenchment - Challenged - Govt. of Maharashtra established a corporation named as the Irrigation Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. - 256 workmen were employed to work on the irrigation schemes of the said Corporation - Workmen served with notices of termination by the appellant No. 2 on 15-5-1985 - Notice sought to terminate their services w.e.f. 30-6-1985, and offered them 15 days compensation for every completed year of service - Retrenchment was being effected because according to the appellants the lift irrigation schemes, on which these workmen were working, were being transferred to a sugar factory - Workmen filed petition against said order - Labour Court held that there was a violation of s. 25F of Act, inasmuch as not even 1 month's notice had been given and hence the termination was illegal - Single Judge held that since according to the State Govt., the workmen were employed by the Irrigation Department, the plea that their services were required to be terminated on account of the transfer of the undertaking could not be accepted - DB dismissed the appeal filed against said order - Hence, instant appeals - Whether order of the Single Judge as affirmed by the DB could be upheld - Held, termination did result on account of transfer of the undertaking, the relief to be given to the workmen would have to be moulded to be somewhat similar to that given to the other group of 10 workmen - It will not be just and proper to restrict it to the rigours of the limited relief u/s. 25FF r/w 25F of Act - Prior to the termination of their services on 30-6-1985, many of the workmen concerned had put in a service of about 10 years - Inasmuch as so many years have gone since then, most of them must have reached the age of superannuation - In the circumstances, there cannot be any order of reinstatement - However, workmen would be entitled to continuity of service, and although they have been receiving last drawn wages u/s. 17B of Act, they would be entitled to 25% backwages and retirement benefits on par with the other 10 workmen - Appeals disposed of.
Arcot Textile Mills Limited vs Regional Provident Fund Commissioner and others  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 18 Oct 2013]
Labour & Industrial Law - Corporate - Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, s. 7 Q - Constitution of India, 1950, art. 226 - Interest on belated remittance - Appellant-company had a textile factory and it was established in the year 1964 and with passage of time it took steps for modernization but it suffered a setback in the year 1997 due to slump in the cotton industry - Appellant defaulted in making contributions towards the Provident Fund and delay occurred in remitting the dues under the Act - Appellant had paid a sum of Rs.83,01,037.80 being arrears of the Provident Fund contribution to the Respondent No. 1 (Regional Provident Fund Commissioner) - Asst. Provident Fund Commissioner issued a demand requiring the appellant to deposit a sum of Rs.94,27,334/- towards interest u/s. 7Q of the Act for belated remittances - Appellant replied that the report stated to have been annexed with the calculation had not been sent along with the notice and the same may be provided to it to reconcile the accounts - An order came to be passed demanding the amount of interest and an order was passed by the Asst. Provident Fund Commissioner taking certain coercive measures to realize the amount - Appellant filed writ petition against said order which was dismissed by Single Judge who held that it was appropriate on the part of the appellant to take recourse to the alternative remedy and not to approach the HC u/art. 226 of the Constitution - DB dismissed appeal filed against said order - Hence, instant appeal - Whether order of the Single Judge as affirmed by the DB could be upheld - Held, it was manifest from the record that the appellant had already deposited a sum of Rs.34,00,000/- before the Competent Authority and sought for supply of the calculation sheet the basis on which the computation had been made so that it could reconcile the accounts - It was appropriate to direct that the computation sheets should be provided to the appellant within 3 weeks - Appellant was also directed to deposit a further sum of Rs.16,00,000/- within a period of 4weeks social welfare legislation - Appeal allowed.
Davalsab Husainsab Mulla vs North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 24 Sep 2013]
(1) Industrial Disputes Act, 1947-Section 11A-Employment-Workman-Dismissal-Validity-Appellant, driver in respondent-Corporation violated rules of respondent-Corporation, travelled without valid ticket had audacity to question authority of checking squad and posed serious threat of taking away life of concerned checking Inspector-Appellant's past record demonstrated to be very bad-Appellant was proceeded against on 27 occasions earlier also for his different acts of misconduct-Cumulative effect resulted in respondent-Corporation passing order of dismissal against appellant-No sympathy for appellant, having regard to misconduct found proved against appellant and his past record of service-Labour court rightly declined to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction under Section 11A to interfere with punishment of dismissal imposed on appellant-Division Bench of High Court rightly set aside order of single Judge and restoring order of dismissal passed against appellant.

(2) Industrial Disputes Act, 1947-Section 11A-Discretionary power of labour court under Section 11A-How to be exercised-Discretionary power under Section 11A to be exercised judicially and judiciously-Exercise of discretionary power will have to depend upon facts and circumstances of each case-Before exercising discretionary power under Section 11A, labour court has to necessarily reach finding that order of discharge or dismissal was not justified-When employer had chosen to exercise its power of discharge and dismissal for stated reasons and proven misconduct-Interference with such order of punishment under Section 11A by labour court-Cannot be made in casual manner or for any flimsy reasons.

Dredging Corporation of India Limited vs P. K. Bhattacherjee  [SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, 17 Sep 2013]
Labour & Industrial Law - Employee's [Workmen's] Compensation Act, 1923, s. 3 - Accident - Compensation - Entitled to - Applicant/respondent met with an accident while in employment of appellant - Respondent filed petition before Commissioner - Commissioner passed award and held that respondent was entitled to compensation Rs. 12,00,000/- - Aggrieved appellant/company filed petition before HC and the same was dismissed - Hence instant appeal - Appellant contended that an ischemic heart condition was personal to constitution of respondent, totally unrelated to his service, although ordinarily appellant would be loathe to peruse evidence led by parties especially encountering concurrent conclusions, appellant have done so in case -

Held, it appeared to us to be expedient and just to set aside impugned order as well as order of Commissioner and remand matter back to Commissioner for fresh adjudication de novo - It would then be advisable that specific issue be struck as to whether employee's ischemic heart condition developed as a consequence of any stress or strain of his employment with appellant - There could be no gainsaying that Act was beneficial legislation requiring some play at joints so far as considering disabled employee's claim was concerned - Parties should appear before Commissioner as case might be - Perusal of impugned order made it palpably clear that appellant's appeal was dismissed - Matter also required to be remanded to HC for fresh hearing - Appeal allowed.

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