Decided on January 04,1977

Pakistan River Steamer Ltd. Respondents


D.C.BHATTACHARYA,J. - (1.) This appeal by special leave is against a judgment of a Bench of the Dacca High Court, setting aside an order of the Labour Court, on an application made by Respondent No. 1, and incorporated Company engaged in carrying passengers and cargoes by steamers, under Article 98 of the then Constitution of Pakistan, 1962.
(2.) The appellants who were formerly employees of the Respondent Company were retrenched by the Respondent Company in pursuance of an agreement entered into between the Respondent Company and Respondent No 2, which happens to be a registered Trade Union of the employees of the said Company. The case of the Respondent Company is that in November, 1966 the Respondent Company retrenched 149 of its clerks by serving notice of retrenchment to be effective from the 1st of December, 1966. Respondent No. 2, the Employees Union, being dissatisfied with this decision of the Company initiated conciliation proceedings but, the same having failed, instituted a labour dispute case under section 6 and also filed a complaint under section 31 of the East Pakistan Labour Disputes Act 1965 (hereinafter referred to as the Labour, Disputes Act). This Company and the Union having subsequently come to an agreement executed on 17-2-67, a Memorandum of Settlement signed by both the parties setting out a policy of retrenchment. In accordance with the said settlement, as claimed by the Company, 50 out of 149 clerks, who were served with retrenchment orders, were taken back unconditionally but the cases of 54 out of the remaining retrenched 99 clerks were not considered at all. So far as the other 45 clerks were concerned, they were reinstated after retrenching a new set of 45 clerks, who were originally Flat clerks and later on appointed as Shore clerks but were transferred back to the posts of Fiat clerks just before their retrenchment. Out of these 45 clerks, who were thus newly retrenched, 21 felt aggrieved by this decision of retrenchment and instituted complaint cases under section 25(1) of the East Pakistan Employment of Labour (Standing Orders) Act, 1965 (hereinafter referred to as the Standing Orders Act alleging, inter alia, that the retrenchment orders were malafide and collusive and nor in accordance with law, that the Union had no locus standi to enter into any agreement on behalf of the said retrenched employees and that such an agreements was not binding upon them.
(3.) Respondent Company filed written statements in the said cases and asserted therein that the retrenchment orders were in accordance with the provision of section 13 of the Standing Orders Act which provided for retrenchment category wise and that it was not correct that they were transferred from Flat to Shore series freely, that the Union in question was a registered as well as a recognised Trade Union, which was competent to enter into an agreement on behalf of the complainants.;

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