WRITERS AND PUBLISHER PVT LTD. Vs. A.K. MISHRA, OFFICIAL LIQUIDATOR THE COOPERATIVE STORES LTD. SUPER BAZAR
LAWS(SC)-2020-3-102
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on March 05,2020

Writers And Publisher Pvt Ltd. Appellant
VERSUS
A.K. Mishra, Official Liquidator The Cooperative Stores Ltd. Super Bazar Respondents




JUDGEMENT

DR.DHANANJAYA Y.CHANDRACHUD.J. - (1.)Super Bazar, which was envisaged to be a model of co-operation in the consumer movement fell on bad days. On 15 March 2002, an inquiry was conducted into the working and financial conditions of Super Bazar under Section 78 of the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act 2002. The inquiry identified poor management and a rise in the wage bill of Super Bazar as the primary causes for the losses.
(2.)On 5 July 2002, the Central Registrar of Co-operative Societies[1] passed an order for the winding up of Super Bazar. The order of winding up was upheld by the Appellate Authority on 5 November 2002. Finding that as a multi-state cooperative society, the institution had not sub-served the interest of the general public, the Appellate Authority held that the Central government was under no obligation to continue infusing funds to keep Super Bazar afloat without the prospect of any returns. The total loss of Super Bazar as on 31 March 2002 was Rs. 60.28 crore. The order of winding up was challenged before the High Court of Delhi in writ petitions instituted by the employees' unions of Super Bazar.
[1] "Central Registrar"

(3.)On 15 January 2003, the Official Liquidator[2] issued a notice under Section 25F of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947[3] terminating the services of the regular employees with effect from 15 February 2003 on the ground that Super Bazar did not possess the necessary financial resources to meet its salary obligations. In a reply filed to one of the writ petitions before the High Court, the Central government expressed its inability to infuse funds for the rehabilitation of the enterprise. In a reply filed on 3 March 2003, the OL stated that upon the winding up of the enterprise, the services of the employees had come to an end by the operation of law. The writ petitions before the High Court were dismissed on 19 December 2003 as a consequence of which the order of liquidation was upheld. In a writ petition titled RS Mudgal v. Official Liquidator, 2004 (74) DRJ 694, notices issued by the OL on 15 January 2003 and 30 April 2003 under Section 25F and Section 25N of the Industrial Disputes Act were assailed. The High Court of Delhi by its order dated 17 May 2004 dismissed the petition, holding:
"Legal position, not disputed by any of the counsel appearing for the parties that with the winding up of Super Bazar, by operation of law, Super Bazar closed down. Employer-employee relationship between the employees of Super Bazar snapped, the winding up order being deemed to be a notice of discharge of the officers and employees of Super Bazar."

[2] "OL"

[3] "Industrial Disputes Act"

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