MANAGEMENT OF VISHNU SUGAR MILLS LIMITED HARKHUA Vs. WORKMEN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
MANAGEMENT OF VISHNU SUGAR MILLS LIMITED,HARKHUA,STATE OF BIHAR
WORKMEN REPRESENTED BY CHILLI MILL MAZDOOR UNION,HARKHUA
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Wanchoo, J. -
(1.)This is an appeal by special leave against the award of the Industrial Tribunal, Patna. The appellant is a Sugar Mill in District Saran in the State of Bihar. One Ramakrishna Prasad was appointed as clerk in this mill in 1933. Gradually, he worked his away up and was drawing Rs. 140 per month in October 1952. The mill created a new post of store in-charge about that time as the work in the Stores Department of the Mill had increased. On October 4, 1952, Babulal Parekh was appointed to this new post on a consolidated salary of Rs. 180 per mensem. A letter of appointment was issued to him on that date and he was told that he would be on probation for one year. He was also asked by another letter to take charge immediately. He took charge on October 7, 1952. On November 28, 1952, an order was passed by the mill distributing the duties between the various clerks employed in the Stores Department and it was stated therein that all the staff of the Stores Department would work as subordinate to Babulal Parekh. On December 2, 1952, another order was passed by which Ramkrishna Prasad was ordered to hand over the keys of the stores to Babulal Parekh. Thereafter Ramkrishna Prasad made a representation against his being made subordinate to the stores in-charge. This representation was rejected. A dispute was then raised by the union and a reference was made by the Government of Bihar on May 9, 1956, in which the following three matters were referred to the tribunal:-
1. Whether the status of workmen, Sri Ramkrishna Prasad, Store-keeper, and the nature of the job performed by him has been changed to his prejudice with the appointment of a separate Store in-charge;
2. Whether in view of the satisfactory performance of duties of store-keeper for the last 20 years by the above-named workman, it was at all necessary to appoint a separate store in-charge over him with higher emoluments and whether Shri Ramkrishna Prasad is entitled to be appointed to the post of Store in-charge; and
3. Whether the claim of the above-named workman for promotion to higher grades has been overlooked by the management, and if so, what relief the workman is entitled to.
(2.)When the matter came up before the tribunal, the main contention on behalf of the mill was that it was exclusively the management function to decide its labour strength, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and that so far as Ramkrishna Prasad was concerned his position had not been prejudicially affected by the creation of the new post of a store in-charge. The workmen on the other hand contended that Babulal Parekh was first appointed as a mere clerk under Ramkrishna Prasad to begin with and it was only on November 28, 1952, that he was promoted over the head of Ramkrishna Prasad as a store in -charge, thus superseding Ramkrishna Prasad. This stand of the workmen was controverted by the mill and its case was that Babulal Parekh was from the very beginning appointed as store in-charge.
(3.)The tribunal came to the conclusion after a consideration of the evidence produced that Babulal was first appointed as an ordinary clerk in the Stores Department and was subsequently made a store in-charge. It held that this caused reasonable heart burning to Ramkrishna Prasad. The tribunal was conscious of the principle that promotion to a higher post was the exclusive function of the management and should not ordinarily be interfered with. But in spite of that it was of the view that this was a fit case for interference; but on other considerations which were not specified in the order by the tribunal it held that it would not interfere with the arrangement made by the mill; it instead granted an increment of Rs. 30 per month from the date of its order to Ramkrishna Prasad to meet the ends of justice. It is this order which is being challenged before us.
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