Decided on May 03,2007

KISHAN LAL Appellant
GOVT OF NCT Respondents


- (1.) BY filing the present writ petition, the petitioner/management has assailed the award dated 18-7-1996, passed by the Presiding officer, Labour Court holding inter alia that the reference made by the Secretary, Labour, Delhi administration was valid and that the termination of services of the respondent/workmen by the petitioner/management was in violation of the provisions of section 25f of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (hereinafter in short referred to as 'the Act'), as a result of which the respondent/workmen were held entitled to be reinstated in their jobs with full back wages and continuity of service.
(2.) THE facts in brief for deciding the petition are that ten workmen filed a combined statement of claims with the averment that they were employed with the petitioner/management for the period ranging from 7 years to 25 years in the post of 'painter'/'mistri'. It may be noted here that for the purpose of deciding the present writ petition, this Court is concerned with only 5 workmen out of the aforesaid 10 claimants before the Labour Court, in whose favour the reference was answered in the impugned award. In the claim petition, it was submitted by the respondent/workmen that legal facilities were denied to them by the petitioner and when they made oral and written demands for extension of such facilities and got the establishment of the petitioner/management inspected through the union, their services were terminated on 20-6-1988. The management took the respondent workman back on duty on 20-6-1988, on the intervention of the conciliation Officer but they were not given sufficient work and were made to sit idle, as a result of which they were not paid complete wages for the month of may 1988. It was claimed that on 26-10-1988, all the workmen were made to sit idle and were forced to settle their accounts, after submitting their resignation and whey they refused to oblige the management by tendering their resignation, the proprietor Sh. Shanker Lal, directed them not to come for duties from the next day onwards. Although, noting was givnein writing to any of the workmen, their services were terminated from 27-10-1988 (except for Ms. Kammo, respondent No. 2 (Hi), who was refused duty on 20-10-1988) without payment of earned wages and without any notice or retrenchment compensation. Thereafter, all the respondent/ workmen except Ms. Kammo sent a joint demand letter to the petitioner and in response thereto, the petitioner leveled allegations of absence against all the respondents except Ms. Kammo, vide its letter dated 4-11-1998, but when the workman reported for duty on 12-11-1998, the petitioner/management refused to permit them to join duties. A demand letter was then sent to the management through the union of which the respondent/workmen were members but since the same was not replied to by the management, a dispute was raise before conciliation Officer. However, on failure of the said conciliation proceedings, reference was made to the labour Court vide order dated 3-3-1989, on the following terms: "whether the workmen S/shri Raghu Nath, yasin, Anil Ram Varan, Lal Ram, Raj Kishore alias Raji, Afsar Mooto Alias ROOD Kishore, shamshoo and Kammo have abandoned their services or their services have been terminated illegally and/or unjustifiably by the management and if so, to what relief are they entitled and what directions are necessary in this respect?"
(3.) THE written statement was filed on behalf of the petitioner/management taking a preliminary objection that the reference made to the Court was not maintainable. It was further stated that there was no relation of an 'employer' and 'employee' between the parties as the respondent/workman, used to work on their own, independently and work was assigned to them on contract basis, as and when required and they were paid accordingly. It was also stated that there were no working hours fixed and they were free to work at whatever time they desired. In rejoinder, the respondent/workman denied the contentions raised by the petitioner/management and stated that they were working on piece rate basis and for fixed duty hours with the petitioner/management under the directions and, instructions of the Proprietor of the petitioner/management.;

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