P MUTHUKRISHNAN Vs. SECRETARY MODERN WOODCRAFTS EMPLOYEES UNION
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
SECRETARY, MODERN WOODCRAFTS EMPLOYEES UNION
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(1.) These Writ Petitions question the validity of an award passed by the Industrial Tribunal, Calicut.
(2.) The petitioner in O. P. 3738/66, the Secretary, Modern Woodcrafts Employees' Union, raised an industrial dispute concerning the wrongful dismissal of one K. Parameswaran Asari, an employee of the management (the 1st respondent in O. P. 3738/66), and the Government of Kerala referred the dispute for adjudication to the 2nd respondent. Before the 2nd respondent the main contention of the management was that Asari was dismissed after a proper domestic enquiry, and therefore, the tribunal should not interfere with the punishment imposed; whereas the Employees' Union contended that Asari was dismissed as a result of victimisation and unfair labour practice. The 2nd respondent passed an award on 6-7-1966 and it was published in the Gazette dated 20th September 1966. Ext. P-1 is a copy of the Gazette.
Parameswaran Asari was employed in the Woodcrafts on a daily wage of Rs. 3.50 with effect from 12.4.1961. The 1st respondent wrote to Asari prior to his employment letters dated 9-3-1961 and 31-3-1961 marked Ext. M2 & M4 before the Tribunal, offering residential facilities and promotion, besides, daily wages. Based upon these promises, it is said, Asari requested on 1-11-1961 that the 1st respondent should promote him to a post carrying a monthly salary of Rs. 120/-. This was refused, and Asari was posted to the work of 'marking' in the carpentry section which carried a monthly allowance of Rs. 10/-. As the allowance was not given to Asari inspite of repeated requests, he sent a communication in writing on 24-3-1963 requesting for the same. The 1st respondent not only refused the request, but Asari was depromoted as a carpenter. Thereupon the petitioner Union filed a complaint before the Assistant Labour Officer, Tellicherry, on 11-7-1963. At the suggestion of the Assistant Labour Officer the 1st respondent reposted Asari to the 'marking' work. By this time Asari was elected as Secretary to the Employees' Union. In that capacity he placed certain demands on behalf of the employees before the 1st respondent on 21-3-1963. He also raised the question of the residential accommodation promised to him by the 1st respondent. It is alleged that the 1st respondent demanded that Asari should withdraw the demands, but that Asari refused to do so. On 5-8-1963 Asari was given notice depromoting him again as a carpenter without any reason. A copy of the notice is filed as Ext. P-11 in this proceeding. The President of the petitioner Union thereupon complained to the District Labour Officer, Cannanore, stating that Asari was depromoted because Asari had put forward the demands, and that it was unfair labour practice. The District Labour Officer registered the complaint as a labour dispute and posted the matter for the statement of the 1st respondent. In the meanwhile the 1st respondent asked Asari by a notice dated 12-8-1963 to explain why he has absented himself from work since the after noon of 5-8-1963. To this the petitioner - Union sent replies on 14-8-1963 and 30-8-1963. The 1st respondent thereafter conducted an enquiry and found Asari guilty of the charge, and he was dismissed on 23-9-1963. The matter was reported to the Labour Department. As no settlement could be reached, the Government referred the matter for adjudication to the Industrial Tribunal.
(3.) The questions referred for adjudication were: (1) whether there was a proper domestic enquiry (2) Whether the reason for the dismissal is true and (3) Whether the dismissal was the result of unfair labour practice and would amount to victimisation
The 2nd respondent in his award said that there was no proper domestic enquiry, that on the evidence adduced before the tribunal, the charge against the workmen has been proved, but that the punishment of dismissal is out of all proportion to the gravity of the delinquency, and that it was evidence of victimisation and unfair labour practice. The tribunal gave Asari compensation of two years' wages from the date of dismissal.;
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