Decided on July 16,1999

Nitco Roadways Ltd Appellant
State of JAndK And Ors Respondents


- (1.) The petitioner is challenging an award by the Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Jammu and Kashmir, whereby respondent Kuldeep Raj was treated as a Workman and he was ordered to be reinstated with full back wages along with other benefits. It is this award which is subject matter of challenge in this petition.
(2.) The petitioner submits that the respondent No. 3 was an apprentice and the terms and conditions of his tenure are to be governed by Apprentices Act of 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). It is submitted that the petitioner came to be appointed as a Apprentice for the first time on 3rd June '86. An agreement, in this regard was executed. This has been placed on record as annexure 'C'. This tenure as Apprentice was further extended upto 30th March, '87. Again on 30th June '87 with increase in the monthly stipend, the tenure was extended vide annexure D.1, D.2 and D.3. It is further stated that as respondent No. 3 was having his residence at a distant place, he expressed his inability to continue with the petitioner-Company. Ultimately, an order terminating the apprenticeship came to be passed. It is this termination of arrangement which was subject matter of challenge before the Industrial Tribunal. The Tribunal has recorded a finding that respondent No. 3 having completed more than 240 days of continuous service with the petitioners, therefore, he was entitled to reinstatement and also back wages. It is this order which is subject matter of challenge in this petition.
(3.) The petitioner submits that the Industrial Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the dispute as respondent No. 3 did not answer the description of term 'workman' as envisaged by the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947. Reliance is placed on two decisions of the Supreme Court as Narender Kumar v. State of Punjab, 1985 AIR(SC) 275, Employees State Insurance Corporation and Anr. v. The Tata Engineering and Co. Locomotive Co. Ltd. and Anr, 1976 AIR(SC) 66 What is sought to be urged is that in the event of some dispute arising between an apprentice and the person who has engaged the person as Apprentice, then resort can be had to Section 20 of the Apprenticeship Act of 1961. It is accordingly submitted that the Industrial Tribunal had no jurisdiction in the matter.;

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