SURESH BABU Vs. REGIONAL JOINT LABOUR COMMISSIONER
LAWS(KER)-2017-12-48
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Decided on December 21,2017

SURESH BABU Appellant
VERSUS
REGIONAL JOINT LABOUR COMMISSIONER Respondents

JUDGEMENT

P.B.SURESH KUMAR,J. - (1.) Petitioner was an employee in one of the establishments of the second respondent namely HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited in the State. He was terminated from service in terms of Ext. P-1 order on the basis of the recommendation made by the Internal Committee constituted under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 ('the Act'). Aggrieved by the recommendation made by the Internal Committee under Section 13 of the Act, the petitioner preferred an appeal under Section 18 of the Act before the first respondent. Ext. P-3 is the appeal. The first respondent, however, informed the petitioner in terms of Ext. P-4 communication that the third respondent is the competent authority to entertain appeals preferred under Section 18 of the Act. According to the petitioner, the first respondent is the competent authority to deal with the appeals preferred under Section 18 of the Act. Hence this writ petition for appropriate reliefs.
(2.) Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner, the learned Government Pleader, the learned counsel for the second respondent and the learned Central Government Counsel.
(3.) Section 18 of the Act provides for an appeal against recommendations made by the Internal Committee constituted under the Act. Section 18 of the Act reads thus : "18. Appeal (1) Any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under sub-section (2) of Section 13 or under clause (i) or clause(ii) of sub-section (3) of Section 13 or sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 14 or Section 17 or non-implementation of such recommendations may prefer an appeal to the court or tribunal in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the said person or where no such service rules exist then, without prejudice to provisions contained in any other law for the time being in force, the person aggrieved may prefer an appeal in such manner as may be prescribed. (2) the appeal under sub-section (1) shall be preferred within a period of ninety days of the recommendations." As explicit from Section 18, where the service rules applicable to the person concerned do provide a forum for preferring appeal in respect of matters mentioned therein, the appeal has to be preferred in the manner prescribed under the Act. The case on hand is a case where a forum is prescribed in terms of the service rules for preferring appeals in respect of matters mentioned in Section 18. The petitioner, in the circumstances, could prefer an appeal in respect of any of the matters mentioned in Section 18 only in the manner prescribed under the Act. Rule 11 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 ('the Rules') contains the prescription as regards the manner of preferring appeals in respect of matters mentioned in Section 18. The said rule reads thus: "11. Appeal-subject to the provisions of Section 18, any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under sub-section (2) of Section 13 or under clauses (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of Section 13 or sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 14 or Section 17 or non-implementation of such recommendation may prefer an appeal to the appellate authority notified under clause (a) of Section 2 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 (20 of 1946)." It is evident from the extracted rule that the appellate authority notified under Clause (a) of Section 2 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, is the competent authority to deal with the appeals under Section 18 of the Act. Section 2(a) of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 reads thus: "appellate authority means an authority appointed by the appropriate Government by notification in the Official Gazette to exercise in such area as may be specified in the notification the functions of an appellate authority under this Act: Provided that in relation to an appeal pending before an Industrial Court or other authority immediately before the commencement of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Amendment Act, 1963, that Court or authority shall be deemed to be the appellate authority" Ext. P-5 is the notification issued by the State Government under Clause (a) of Section 2 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 in relation to the establishments to which the State Government is the appropriate Government under the said statute. Similar notifications have been issued by the Central Government also in relation to the establishments of which the Central Government is the appropriate Government under the said statute. In terms of Ext. P-5 notification, the first respondent is the competent authority to deal with Ext. P-3 appeal.;


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