Decided on October 03,2016

Workmen Rastriya Colliery Mazdoor Sangh Appellant
Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. And Anr. Respondents


D Y CHANDRACHUD,J - (1.) The Appellant, which is a registered trade union, espoused the cause of the workmen engaged at Balihari Colliery under Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL). Of the 20 original workmen, 14 are left in the fray. In 1993, a reference was made by the appropriate government under Section 10(1)(d) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to the Central Government Industrial Tribunal at Dhanbad on the demand raised by the workmen for regularisation. The reference was as follows: - "Whether the demand of Rashtriya Colliery Mazdoor Sangh for regularization of the workmen on the role of Balihari Colliery of M/s BCCL Ltd., and payments to them of wages as per N.C.W.A. is justified? If so, to what relief the workmen are entitled - The Industrial Tribunal delivered an Award on 9 September 1996 in the above mentioned reference, Reference 26 of 1993. By its Award, the Industrial Tribunal allowed the reference in the following terms: - "The management of BCCL is directed to regularise the concerned workmen as per annexure of the reference as permanent employee as per NCWA in Cat. I within three months from the date of publication of this Award with the wages and other amenities to which they are entitled to. But no back wages is given nor is it claimed. No cost is awarded also to either of the parties. Thus the reference is disposed of and this is my Award".
(2.) Separately, the appropriate government made another reference on 11 August 1994, being Reference 204 of 1994, under Section 10(1)(d) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 in respect of 76 workmen who had been denied regularisation in Balihari Colliery. In that reference, an Award was rendered by the Industrial Tribunal on 14 August 2000 directing BCCL to regularise 73 out of 76 workmen. The management challenged the Award in writ proceedings before the High Court (CWJC 3824 of 2000). The High Court by a judgment dated 26 July 2001 dismissed the writ petition. In a Letters Patent Appeal (LPA 543 of 2001), a Division Bench of the High Court by a judgment dated 10 March 2003 modified the Award by directing that as and when the management intended to appoint regular workmen, it shall give preference to the workmen in question, if necessary by relaxing conditions of age and eligibility. The judgment of the High Court was challenged before this Court in Civil Appeal No. 3962 of 2006 by the Union. By a judgment and order dated 18 November 2009 the Civil Appeal was allowed and the Award of the Industrial Tribunal was restored. In consequence the workmen were directed to be reinstated though without any backwages.
(3.) In the present case, the Award of the Industrial Tribunal dated 9 September 1996 was modified by a judgment dated 18 May 2004 of the High Court in CWJC 1654 of 1997. The Award was modified in the following terms: - "...the impugned awards are modified to the extent that as and when M/s. B.C.C.L. intends to employ regular workmen, it shall give preference to these 88 plus 20 persons, if they are otherwise found suitable by relaxing the conditions as to the works age appropriately taking into consideration their age at the time of their initial appointment and also by relaxing the condition regarding academic/technical qualification". No appeal was filed against the impugned judgment of the High Court dated 18 May 2004 by the Union. However, on 22 August 2011 a representation was submitted on behalf of the workmen to the management seeking employment for those governed by the Award dated 9 September 1996, as modified by the High Court on 18 May 2004. Eventually, a writ petition was filed before the High Court under Article 226 seeking a direction to the employer to furnish employment to 20 workmen in terms of the order of the High Court dated 18 May 2004. The writ petition was dismissed by learned Single Judge on 21 March 2012 on the ground that execution of the Award of the Industrial Tribunal could not be sought by invoking the jurisdiction under Article 226. In a Letters Patent Appeal, the Division Bench by a judgment dated 16 July 2012 affirmed the view of the learned Single Judge. The present proceedings have been instituted to challenge the judgment of the Division Bench dated 16 July 2012.;

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