Decided on July 05,2005

Chhattisgarh Distillery Appellant
General Secretary C.G. Chemical Mill Majdoor Sangh Respondents


SUNIL KUMAR SINHA,J. - (1.) THIS order shall dispose of I.A. No. 429/2004 and LA. No. 2117/ 2005 by which objections have been taken for payment of arrears of wages due in compliance with the provisions of section 65(3) of the M.P. (C.G.) Industrial Relations Act (for brevity 'the Act'). This objection was also taken earlier and the single bench of the M.P. High Court passed the order dated 22-8-2000 directing the petitioner employer to comply with Section 65(3) of the Act, failing which the writ petition was liable to be dismissed. Against the said order, the matter was taken up to the Division Bench and the Division bench passed the order dated 27-11-2000 upholding the order of single bench except that the direction of automatic dismissal of the writ petition was set aside. Now this interim application (I.A.No. 429/2004) has been filed on 19-1-2004 alleging that the petitioner employer has commenced the partial compliance and the arrears of wages are still unpaid. A direction has been sought from this Court to the petitioner to pay the wages accordingly.
(2.) REPLY to this interim application was filed on 18-3-2004 by the petitioner. It is contended that on 08-1-2001, an agreement/settlement between the petitioner and the respondent /Union has taken place regarding the payment made to the members of the Union. It is submitted that sub-section (3) of 65, as per its language, is meant for the benefit of the employee. In fact, it is a statutory right conferred on the employees for their benefit and such statutory right can be waived by the employees and the doctrine of waiver applies in such situation. After entering into the agreement between the petitioner and the Union regarding payment of arrears of salary in terms of Section 65(3) of the Act, this statutory right has been waived by them and once by the agreement the rights under section 65(3) are waived and certain settlement has been accepted, respondent No. 1 can only enforce their right under the agreement and they cannot press for enforcement of the statutory right under sub-section (3) o Section 65. I.A.No.2117/2005 is almost in the similar line. It has been contended by the respondent/Union vide Para 5 that since the petitioner employer claimed to be under considerable financial difficulties and therefore, unable to make the payment of arrears as due on 27-11-2000 in a single installment, in the said situation, the respondent Union entered into an agreement in presence of the officials of the Labour Department on 08-01-2001 to lay down the modus operandi for implementation of the order. It is submitted that by no stretch of imagination it can be considered as waiver of statutory right u/s 65(3) of the Act.
(3.) A clarification regarding arrears of payment has also been made by the respondent Union by filing I.A.No. 2943/2005 on 19-4-2005 and it has been stated vide Para 4 that the total amount so paid to 545 workmen of the respondent Union from 15-1-2001 to the present date is Rs. 2,46,92,700/- which is almost half of the amount claimed to have been paid by the petitioner Company i.e., Rs. 4,76,85,274/-. It is further submitted vide Para 7 that default has been made regarding payment at various points of time from 1st January 2001 to 1st of April 2005 and presently Rs. 70,00,000/- is lying as balance as on 1st of April 2005. Reply dated 23-3-2005 filed by the Union vide Para 6, shows that as on 28-2- 2005 the arrears payable to the workmen of the respondent Union of approximately 12 months of wages each were not paid to them.;

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