HDFC BANK LTD., FIRST FLOOR, CHOICE TOWERS, MANORAMA JUNCTION, KOCHI Vs. A.O. THOMAS, S/O. LATE OUSEPH, ANCHANDY HOUSE, ANNALLOR. P.O, (VIA) CHALAKUDY, PIN
LAWS(KER)-2017-1-116
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Decided on January 24,2017

Hdfc Bank Ltd., First Floor, Choice Towers, Manorama Junction, Kochi Appellant
VERSUS
A.O. Thomas, S/O. Late Ouseph, Anchandy House, Annallor. P.O, (Via) Chalakudy, Pin Respondents

JUDGEMENT

A. Muhamed Mustaque, J. - (1.) The petitioner is a bank. They were not party to the proceedings under Section 33C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 initiated by the workmen against the employer whose assets were secured by the petitioner bank. In the proceedings initiated under the SARFAESI Act, the assets were sold in auction in the year 2009. However, the workmen approached the labour court in the year 2012 under Section 33C(2) only arraying their employer as a respondent, without impleading the bank. The employer contended that they have no liability and their assets were sold in auction. The labour court allowed claim petitions and directed the employer to pay the amount quantified in the proceedings. It appears that out of the sale proceeds, certain balance amount is remaining with the fifth respondent/Debts Recovery Officer attached to the Debts Recovery Tribunal. The claimants who approached the labour court claimed that amount.
(2.) According to the claimants, in the light of the Division Bench judgment in W.A.No.1661 of 2009, they are entitled to appropriate the amount. Two rival claims arise before the Debts Recovery Officer regarding the balance amount now lying with them; the bank claim that the debtor still owes an amount of more than Rs.60 lakhs to them therefore, the balance amount lying with the Debts Recovery Officer has to be disbursed to them and the other claim is of the workmen of an establishment, whose assets were auctioned by the Debts Recovery Officer, the workmen armed with an order under Section 33C(2) claimed this amount, particularly, referring to the judgment of the Division Bench of this court in W.A.No.1661 of 2009.
(3.) The contention of the bank is that the workmen obtained Ext.P-2 order under Section 33C(2) behind their back, claiming certain amounts beyond their employment. According to the bank, the assets were sold in the year 2009 and the undertaking was closed in the year 2003 and the workmen claimed the amount upto the year 2011. Therefore, it is submitted that the workmen is raising false a claim without any legal basis to claim such an amount. The labour court decided the issue under Section 33C(2) application without bank in the party array. The right of the bank is defeated, if the order now quantifying the claim of the workmen is upheld, on account of the fact that ultimately, both could claim appropriation only from the amount lying at present with the Debts Recovery Officer. Apparently, the order under Section 33C(2) is passed without hearing the bank. Since the order would have a bearing on the petitioner/bank in respect of the claim now raised by the workmen for the amount lying with the Debts Recovery Officer, this court is of the view that the petitioner/bank ought to have been heard in this matter. Accordingly, the matter is remitted to the labour court for reconsideration. The petitioner-bank is suo motu impleaded in the proceedings. Ext.P-2 order is set aside. The labour court shall reconsider the matter after adverting to the objection raised by the bank and pass appropriate orders without any delay within two months. The parties shall appear before the labour court on 14.2.2017. Till further decision is taken in this matter by the labour court, the amount now lying with fifth respondent shall not be disbursed. The writ petition is disposed of as above. No costs. Petition Disposed of.;


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