Decided on January 17,1980



- (1.)BY this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution the petitioner, The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. , challenges the order of the Labour Court, Jabalpur, dated 29th October, 1977 passed under Section 33c (2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
(2.)THE respondent Dalbir Singh was in petitioner's employment as a Development Officer. The respondent was posted at Chhindwara. On 5th February, 1975 he was transferred from Chhindwara to Jabalpur. The respondent did not join at Jabalpur and went to Guna on the plea that he was unwell. He went on sending letters for leave and extension of leave. By letter dated 24th, October, 1975 (Annexure 12) the Senior Area Manager of the petitioner intimated the respondent that the medical certificate submitted in support of absence expired on 14th October, 1975 and still the respondent had not reported for duty. It was also mentioned in this letter that the management was led to believe that the respondent was deliberately avoiding to resume duty and that he was not interested in the service of the company. It was further stated that the management wanted to give him another chance and the respondent could report for duty latest by 1st November, 1975 failing which the management will have no option but to remove the name of the respondent from the rolls of the company. In response to this letter, the respondent did not send any medical certificate. He only wrote a letter dated 14th December, 1975 for extension of sick leave upto 4th January, 1976. Another letter was then sent by the respondent on 3rd January, 1976 for further extension of leave upto 2nd February, 1976. By letter dated 27th January, 1976 the respondent was informed by the General Manager of the petitioner that the respondent did not report for duty as he was required to do by the management's letters dated 22nd September and 24th October, 1973 and that no reply has also been sent by him to those letters. It was also stated in this letter that the management was justified to infer that the respondent had no interest to continue in service of the petitioner and that it was justified to treat the respondent as having abandoned his job voluntarily without notice. It was further intimated that accordingly the respondent's name had been removed from the rolls of the company with effect from 1st November, 1975 and that he ceased to be an employee of company from that date. The respondent made an application under Section 33c (2) to the Labour Court, Jabalpur, on 23rd December, 1976. By the impugned order, the Labour Court held that the termination of the respondent's employment was void and inoperative as it was not preceded by any regular enquiry and that the respondent was entitled to be treated as continuing in service. The Labour Court on this basis, granted the following reliefs; The applicant shall be deemed to have continued in service. He shall be granted leave due for the period of his absence from 16-2-1975 to 1-10-1975 (the date from which termination became effective (sic ). If the whole period is not covered by the leave due the rest of the period shall be treated on leave without pay. After that whatever emoluments are due to him for that period shall be paid to him. For the period after 1-11-75 till he is taken back on duty full emoluments shall be paid to him. He shall be given all benefits admissible to him under the scheme and the arrears on that account shall also be paid to him. The non-applicant shall further pay Rs. 50 as costs to the applicant. The rest of the claim is dismissed.
(3.)THE short submission made by the learned Counsel for the petitioner before us is that the Labour Court exceeded its jurisdiction under Section 33c (2) in deciding upon the question of validity of termination. It is argued that if the respondent wanted to challenge the order of termination, he should have raised an industrial dispute under Section 10 of the Act and that the validity of the order of termination could not have been gone into under Section 33c (2 ). In our opinion, the contentions so raised by the learned Counsel for the petitioner must be accepted.

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